A&E Review

Broadway Meets Film: “Mean Girls” Musical Movie Review

“Mean Girls” (2024) Promotional Image featuring Tim Meadows, Tina Fey, Christopher Briney, Reneé Rapp, Jaquel Spivey, Angourie Rice, Bebe Wood, Avantika and Auli'i Cravalho. Photo Courtesy of IMDb.

Movie musicals aren’t necessarily the most well-received genre in film, but they do know how to make a statement. Tina Fey’s 2004 movie baby, “Mean Girls,” has been revamped with a brand new cast and strong musical elements, leaving viewers either loving or hating the film. If musicals are your jam, there’s a strong likelihood you’ll be obsessed. If they’re not, I wouldn’t recommend even trying to watch it. 

To make it a bit easier to understand; I went into the theater with a friend who loves musicals and a friend who can barely tolerate them. One friend sang the entire time and the other kept glancing over at me rolling her eyes as we stuck it out for the two-hour watch.

The film takes vast inspiration from the Broadway musical “Mean Girls,” which has been a success since it began performances in 2017; starring numerous well-known names in the music industry such as Sabrina Carpenter, Billie Eilish and Reneé Rapp. 

In all honesty, Rapp as Regina George was the only good thing in the whole movie. If she was the only one who was allowed to sing throughout the film, it would have been better off. Rapp’s vocals were unmatched, and with her musical theater background and previous experience performing on Broadway as Regina George, the role in the film was made for her. Rapp played the part so well it almost makes you forget how Rachel McAdams famously did it in the original movie. 

Whenever the plot was getting compelling, not even 3 seconds later one of the characters would break out into song. Many of the actors have vocal experience, but do they have the same X factor Rapp has when performing? Unfortunately, no they do not.

The film lacked the same bite the original “Mean Girls” did so well. The slightly raunchy comments that were written in the original script were just what the movie musical was missing and honestly needed. Acknowledging the script has been reworked and is much more self-aware than the original “Mean Girls” was; it still felt as if the script could have used some more humor. 

Something incredibly humorous about the film is all of the hate it’s receiving for serving as both entertainment and advertisement. Viewers have picked up on the copious amounts of product placement throughout the film, specifically for the makeup brand e.l.f. Cosmetics. Commentary on this has been all over social media, suggesting the film is just a glorified 2-hour long e.l.f. advertisement. 

The film is for teens, and the immense amount of selfies being taken by a phone camera were painful to watch. Nothing about a film on a big screen showing a slightly smaller iPhone screen of teenage girls dancing or doing a get-ready with me is what I expected out of this film. Sure that type of stuff is okay for TikTok, but do we really need a film centered around it too?

The musical performances throughout the film were never quite executed in the way that they could have been. The choreography felt a bit slow and the songs consistently served as an interruption rather than an addition. The one song that did indeed work was “World Burn,” performed by Rapp. She served a raw and powerful performance that provided the intensity and anger that Regina George possesses in the scene with her infamous “burn book.”

Again, Rapp did succeed in her role whereas the rest of the new cast did a mediocre job. Tina Fey and Tim Meadows made a cameo and played their original roles from the 2004 movie and they did not miss. Lindsay Lohan also made an appearance toward the end of the film and the familiar face felt relieving to see. 

I guess expectations can’t possibly be too high for a movie musical that was inspired by a Broadway musical — that was inspired by a 2004 comedy movie — but at some point, the remakes just have to stop being made.