It’s gotten to that point: Our favorite childhood movies are being revived and reimagined for present-day audiences. Timothée Chalamet graced theater screens last month as the titular role in “Wonka” (2023) and Halle Bailey sported a mermaid tail as Ariel in “The Little Mermaid” (2023). Now, one of the most iconic and beloved comedies that has marked Oct. 3 as a national holiday is back in the spotlight: “Mean Girls.”.

However, don’t expect an exact replica of the 2004 movie. “Mean Girls” (2024) is a film adaptation of the musical which debuted on Broadway in 2018. Tina Fey, who reprises her original role as Ms. Norbury in the new film, wrote the book for the Broadway production. The musical received praise from musical theater fanatics and earned Tony Award nominations. 

The musical component seemed to have taken the general public by surprise. This was because the original trailers released by Paramount Pictures lacked any indication of the film being a musical, instead using Olivia Rodrigo’s “get him back!” to gain the attention of audiences. In a viral TikTok that has since been deleted from @user03776127, there are several groans and laughs that can be heard from the audience as Cady Heron, played by Angourie Rice, begins to sing “Stupid With Love.” Paramount reportedly conducted exit polls at theaters to discover that 75% of audiences knew the film was a musical before purchasing a ticket and 16% left the movie disappointed. 

If you are a fan of the musical genre, this movie is right up your alley. It combines the familiar storylines of high school hierarchies and teen romance with flashy dance breaks and show-stopping ballads. The music isn’t too musical theater-esque, and it has elements of pop and R&B that can appeal to a majority of moviegoers.

The entire aesthetic is definitely Gen Z-ified: terms that are no longer acceptable were eliminated from the movie and social media was added into the hellscape that is high school. Part of the charm of the original film is that it takes place in the 2000s, which the revival fails to capture within its modern-day representation of teenagers. 

Another big change made in the new film is that the main character is no longer Cady Heron, the new student who was homeschooled in Africa and gets inducted into the Plastics. Ultimate mean girl Regina George is marketed as the leading woman this time around, which seems like an interesting switch considering the story revolves around her. However, the Queen Bee is played by Renee Rapp, a famous singer and actress known for her work on “The Sex Lives of College Girls” on HBO and her album “Snow Angel.” She’s also recently become an internet personality for her comedic comments in interviews and online. Rapp also played Regina on Broadway during its run at only 19 years old. The marketing in this case paid off: Rapp’s performance was a standout while Angourie Rice’s performance as Cady Heron fell flat.“Mean Girls” (2024) is fun and should not be taken too seriously by audiences. Is it better than the 2004 original? No, but again, they are separate projects. Other than some questionable marketing decisions, I’d say that this movie is a great opportunity to grab some popcorn and chocolate and enjoy an entertaining new movie.

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