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The student news site of Bellaire High School

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Mean Girls’ plastic return

Mean Girls The Musical Review
Graphic by Ella Sotiriades
Mean Girls The Musical, an imitation of the original Broadway Mean Girls was released on Jan. 24, 2024. Featuring actors such as Renee Rap, Christopher Briney, and Angourie Rice, the musical made a gross income off $130.1 million worldwide.

On April 30, 2004, the iconic, classic Mean Girls movie was released, featuring actresses like Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Seyfried, and Tina Fey. The movie was a huge hit, accumulating a gross income of $130.1 million worldwide. 

Almost 20 years later, a new Mean Girls was released, this time as a musical.

The classic coming-of-age comedy followed Cady Heron’s journey navigating an American high school after moving from Africa. To give a quick overview, Cady becomes friends with a girl named Janis and a boy named Damian. Cady decides to become Regina George’s friend and join the “Plastics” as a part of a secret plot to destroy Regina George’s infamous reputation. The plot includes giving her Kalteen bars to increase her weight and leaving the Burn Book out for everybody to see, causing massive chaos throughout the school.

The musical, which first aired on Broadway, is similar to the original movie. The characters have similar lines, and no new characters are introduced. Angourie Rice played Cady Heron, and Regina George was played by Reneé Rapp, who first appeared in the Mean Girls musical in 2019.

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We won’t sugar coat it; the opening scene was a disappointment. It was very clearly a green screen background of a safari setting. It looked like Cady was in a room with a wall behind her painted with grass stalks and a little dash of cloud here and there.

The very first line of dialogue was a song, and it wasn’t too great. It was pretty autotuned and very different from the style of songs in the original Mean Girls and even from the rest of the musical. Right after the safari scene, there is an abrupt and aggressive shift to the high school setting, where Cady is knocked into reality, almost quite literally, with a school bus and is introduced to the real attitude of teenagers. 

Wait. Cady almost walks into the path of a moving school bus. Spoiler alert: At the movie’s end, Regina is “pushed” in front of a moving school bus, putting her into a head cast for their Spring Fling. Foreshadowing??

Reneé was absolutely perfect for the role of Regina. Her voice was amazing throughout the movie, and she portrayed Regina’s character well. We couldn’t imagine anybody else as Regina George in the musical. Reneé just has a voice that’s naturally projected and sounds beautiful.

There are a lot of conversations concerning Reneé’s body type and how she isn’t as “skinny” as Rachel McAdams, who played Regina in the original. Let’s just say she did a good job of combating the body and beauty standards in the film industry. 

Karen, the third plastic, was characterized as an ignorant, worthless girl who only worried about her chest and makeup. And she was basically making the most mindless comments in the movie. But in an ironic way, she portrayed the opposite of a typical nerd Indian stereotype. She had a little showcase moment in her song “Sexy,” where her empty personality really shined. Still, it was quite entertaining, and she gave the audience plenty of fantastic, inappropriate Halloween costumes. The only downside was the diluted audio from the music and the busy scenery.

Christopher Briney plays the role of Aaron Samuels, who isn’t a very important character as a whole. He didn’t have many lines like in the original movie, but he still portrayed Aaron decently. Aaron Samuels is what we call “ugly cute,” and that just so happens to be Chris, too. In the Broadway musical Mean Girls, Aaron Samuels sings the song “Stupid with Love” with Erika Henningsen. If you have also watched The Summer I Turned Pretty, you know that Chris Briney, who plays Conrad Fisher, sings in the second season. Walking into the movie theater, we hoped Chris could muster up the courage and sing again in Mean Girls the Musical. We left disappointed.

Movies today have adjusted how they approach filming to accommodate their young audience despite the movie theater opening night, Friday, Jan. 12, being packed with middle-aged women. 

Mean Girls went overboard with their modern approach to this movie.

Don’t get us wrong, modern references and symbols can sometimes be funny or relatable. However, enough is enough, and we got tired of seeing cell phones and social media posts every other scene. The random TikTok influencers included were kind of expected but also so bizarre. Why are we including random people from TikTok in musicals? They aren’t relevant to the movie, and all of the millennials who filled the audience probably had no idea who they were. Once again, we left very disappointed. We hoped Mean Girls wouldn’t have many of these references after watching the trailer, but that expectation was not met.

Angourie Rice, who played Cady Heron, was a complete letdown. This was the most disappointing actress and singer for us. Her voice was so bland and dull compared to other actresses like Reneé’s. We get that having a bland voice might be part of Cady’s character and represents how she’s adapting to her new environment, but her voice should not bore us. Where’s the emotion?

Moving on to the set and costumes, we were again unsatisfied. The set looked straight out of a typical Disney Channel coming-of-age show. It reminded us of the “Liv and Maddie” and “Girl Meets World” set. The dim lighting and dark colors made the school and set seem outdated, which was very ironic considering the whole movie tries to keep up with the modern features of society. The clothing for every character was just okay. Cady’s clothing was pretty accurate and similar to the original. Some of the Plastics’ clothing looked like Shein, though, and Regina George would never be caught wearing fast fashion. Same thing with E.L.F. – she would never use drugstore makeup!

The whole time we watched “Mean Girls: The Musical,” it felt like a promo video for E.L.F. The recitation of a product’s full name, the scene where Regina dropped the lip gloss in the sink, and the camera focused on the lip gloss for a full 10 seconds made it painfully obvious that E.L.F. sponsored this movie.

“Mean Girls: The Musical” had a few full circle moments with the feature of Lindsay Lohan in the mathlete competition, the Jingle Bell Rock scene, and the line “It’s October third.”

An unexpected twist from the Jingle Bell Rock scene shocked us. When Regina attempts a handstand on a formation of the other three girls, she collapses and humiliates herself, all while Cady is smiling in the background, trying to put up a happy front and act like nothing happened. This shifts the roles, portraying Cady as the perfectly composed plastic and Regina as falling apart. Oh, how the tables turn.

“Mean Girls: The Musical” is not a bad movie. Its humor compensates for the cringe imitations of the original and makes the watch bearable. Plus, “Mean Girls” is such a classic movie that it would be illegal for us not to watch the remake. So go ahead, watch it, and form your own opinion. Just don’t be surprised if you leave disappointed.

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  • J

    Jane OlexaMar 12, 2024 at 6:39 pm

    We loved the movie. All the songs!!

  • A

    AngelFeb 9, 2024 at 10:16 am

    I agree! I was also disappointed when I watched the musical. I love musicals so much but the songs really didn’t deliver Broadway vocals besides Renee Rap.

  • A

    Ashley ParkFeb 8, 2024 at 4:54 pm

    I haven’t watched this yet, but I love this review and how you guys sum it up!

  • A

    Ashley ParkFeb 8, 2024 at 4:53 pm

    I haven’t watched this yet, so I love this review! good job 🙂