The Student News Site of University of Central Missouri


The Student News Site of University of Central Missouri


The Student News Site of University of Central Missouri


“Now that’s a party!”: A “Mean Girls” (2024) Review

Even if you’ve never seen the iconic 2004 “Mean Girls”movie, you probably know some of the quotes. Lines like: ‘That’s so fetch’, ‘On Wednesdays we wear pink’ and ‘She doesn’t even go here’ are just some of the most well-known parts of the 2004 film. In 2018, the “Mean Girls”musical, based on the movie, opened on Broadway. In 2024, the musical was adapted back to the screen for a movie musical. So to clarify, “Mean Girls”(2024) is not a sequel or a remake, it’s a movie version of the musical, which is the musical version of the 2004 movie. If that’s not confusing enough, wait until I tell you that the 2004 movie is based on a book.

To start this review I should make a very important statement that I love musicals. And that will influence how I view the 2024 “Mean Girls”movie. I will do some comparing and contrasting of both movies and briefly the stage show but with a focus on the newest movie. But, this review is spoiler-free.

I think “Mean Girls”(2024) is good. Which is a very controversial statement, so allow me to say more. I think “Mean Girls”(2024) works as an homage to the 2004 film. Unfortunately, as a standalone film, it doesn’t work. You almost have to watch the original version to be able to fully get the newest version, which isn’t something that you want from a movie. The 2024 film has many jokes and references to the 2004 movie. It has cameos and word-for-word scene reenactments. Which feels less like a reference and more like paying tribute to the more iconic movie.

 The word for this review is ‘unfortunate.’ It’s unfortunate that “Mean Girls”(2024) had amazing potential and got reduced to a watered-down musical remake. It’s unfortunate that several songs didn’t live up to the original versions. It’s unfortunate that all this movie gets to be is an homage. And, it’s unfortunate that I’m the only one who seems to actually like this movie.

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So what did I like about “Mean Girls”(2024)?  First, some stand-out performances from Reneé Rapp (Regina George), Jaquel Spivey (Damian Hubbard), Auli’i Cravalho (Janis ʻImi’ike) and Avantika Vandanapu (Karen Shetty). All these people did amazing in their roles. My favorites are Rapp and Spivey who both carried the movie in more than one moment. I thought the humor was good– there were lots of meta jokes which I always love. The movie also had amazing musical sequences. A lot of movie musicals are too scared to go big, wild and crazy with their musical numbers, but not “Mean Girls”(2024). A lot of them are self-contained, but the ones that aren’t, are the best scenes in the movie. 

Illustration by: Elizabeth Reece

So what did I not like about the movie, unfortunately, a lot. Firstly, “Mean Girls”(2024) simply does not go into as much character development as the 2004 movie does. “Mean Girls”(2004) is great at showing character progress and character relationships. The 2024 movie only seems to be a shadow of its predecessor in this regard. One of the things I really like about the 2004 movie is the narration from the main character, Cady. Cady narrates most of the movie which gives the audience insight into her thoughts and actions, so we know her deeper as a character. The 2024 movie doesn’t have that, and it makes the movie oddly quiet. It also makes the audience distant from the main character. Cady’s lack of narration in the 2024 movie is one of my least favorite changes and one of its most damning aspects.

Despite about an extra 20 minutes of runtime, the 2024 movie feels much faster than the 2004 movie. I understand the need for extra time for the musical numbers, however, that shouldn’t take away from the pacing of the storyline. Like I said before we don’t really get to spend enough time with the characters to see their progression. 

Of course one of the most unfortunate things about this movie is the performance Angourie Rice gave in the role of Cady Heron. No hate to Rice, of course, I think her acting was fine, but amongst the rest of the cast, she is clearly the weakest link. The other main actors who sing, with the expectation of Bebe Wood (Gretchen Wieners), have had extensive stage acting and singing experience. Rapp even portrayed Regina George on Broadway. Singing a pop song or a ballad is leagues different from singing for theatre, and it shows how Rice’s singing is plain compared to her castmates’. She is completely overshadowed by this crowd of experienced theater kids. Rice is a good singer but she doesn’t have the experience to perform in the way the role calls for. It’s unfortunate because Cady is the main character and Rice’s performance doesn’t do the character justice. 

I consider myself a semi-serious movie reviewer. But it’s no secret that my weak spot is fun, campy and frankly bad movies. Especially if there are fun musical numbers involved. I really do love most of the music performances in this movie. My favorites are “Revenge Party”, “Someone Gets Hurt” and “World Burn.” I love musical adaptations that take advantage of things they can’t do on stage. In theater, your space is finite, everything has to be done live and you have many restrictions on what is possible. On screen, there is basically no limit and “Mean Girls”(2024) knows that. I love the camera work and lighting in this movie, it’s incredible. It’s so dynamic and full of energy. 

I am aware of “Mean Girls”(2024) faults and its merits. But I like to be positive about movies, so that’s why I like the “Mean Girls”(2024) movie. Nothing will ever compare to the original movie. It’s a cultural phenomenon whose impact can not be replicated. That doesn’t mean I still can’t like the new version, too. Am I biased due to my deep love for Rapp, the actress playing Regina George? Yes, I am. And it’s okay to be biased, and it’s even better to admit when you are. That’s why I write for the Opinions section.

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About the Contributors
Megan Weaver, Reporter
Megan Weaver is a sophomore at the University of Central Missouri. She is majoring in Digital Media Production with a focus in Cinematography and a minor in Creative Writing. She has been with The Muleskinner since Fall 2022. Megan loves writing movie reviews and analyses for The Muleskinner. Her goal is to let her film opinions be known to a wide audience, whether they want to hear them or not.
Elizabeth Reece, Illustrator

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