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The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

‘Mean Girls’: A review

The new musical movie hits sour notes
Akshath Mirukula
A drawing of the new movie’s “Plastics”, Karen Shetty played by Avantika Vandanapu (left), Regina George played by Reneé Rapp (center) and Gretchen Wieners played by Bebe Wood (right).

“Mean Girls” the musical is a bittersweet bite of nostalgia.

Musicals. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but maybe with some sugar and a splash of milk, can be totally digestable.

“Mean Girls”, is a new musical movie based off of a Broadway musical, also, titled “Mean Girls”, which is based off of a 2004 classic movie — again, titled “Mean Girls” — which was inspired by a self-help book for parents of teenage girls, “Queenbees and Wannabees”.

Produced by partnered studios Broadway Video and Little Stranger, “Mean Girls” hit theaters on Jan. 12, 2024, distributed by Paramount Pictures. As of Feb. 2, 2024, — the PG-13 rated movie with a run time of 112 minutes — has grossed a worldwide total of $85 million at the box office.

Adapted from a screenplay written by Tina Fey, the original “Mean Girls” (2004) has become an iconic piece of pop-culture, with its popular quotes like “you can’t sit with us” or “she doesn’t even go here!” becoming staple references in most people’s vocabulary.

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It’s clear that no re-make of this movie will ever come anywhere near the success that the original had — evidently shown by the flop of a sequel, “Mean Girls 2”, with a 4.1 rating on IMDb. However, this new musical movie does a great job at paying homage to the iconic and hilarious screenplay that made the original so beloved in the first place.

When the movie was first announced to begin production, a lot of speculation occurred online over the necessity of recreating yet another already successful film. However, what many failed to realize (including myself), is that this was in fact a musical movie based off of the well established Broadway play.

This was partially due to the lack of marketing for the movie as a musical. In the initial official movie trailer, the only music included was that of Olivia Rodrigo’s hit song, “Get Him Back!”. By the time the second and third official trailer rolled out a snippet of Reneé Rapp’s solo ballad, “Meet the Plastics,” played throughout the trailer, insinuating that this was indeed a musical and there would be impromptu singing and dance breaks involved.

Debuting on Oct. 31, 2017 and transferring to Broadway in 2018, the musical itself ran for a total of 833 shows with the new movie’s Regina George, portrayed by Rapp, on stage as the iconic blonde from 2019 to 2020. Rapp’s Regina had to be postponed on March 11, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, indefinitely canceling that run.

The musical is still in production today, embarking on a North American tour set to run until May of this year with an entirely different cast and crew.

Causing an initial unwelcoming attraction at the box offices, the movie musical itself remains loyal to its prototype, although it lacks the timeless charm the original embodies.

The movie showcases the classic characters: Cady Heron (Angourie Rice), Janice Ian and Damian Hubbard (Auli’i Cravalho and Jaquel Spivey), Aaron Samuels (Christopher Briney) and, of course, the plastics: Regina George (Reneé Rapp), Karen Smith (Avantika Vandanapu), and Gretchen Wieners (Bebe Wood). All of the characters remain within their respective characteristics, however the actors apply their own spin on them, allowing for a fresh Gen-Z twist: appealing to newer audiences.

While the production of the movie went above and beyond — showcasing amazing costumes, choreography, and set design — somehow, the 36 million dollar budget seemed to miss the mark with their music. Playing at odd timings, with a lack of a proper segway, and although catchy, felt unnatural to the movie.

Sometimes the songs went on for too long and I sat there hopelessly waiting for the movie to resume, failing to realize that this is the movie.

That’s not to say that the singing was bad, because it was far from it. When we have singers like Cravalho, who also played the titular character in Disney’s 2016 movie “Moana” (maybe you’ve heard of it) and Rapp, former broadway starlet to global pop-star, performing powerful ballads and showcasing their raw talent — you can’t help but watch in awe.

To some, the appearance of social media and online platforms — such as TikTok — in movies leaves a bad taste in my mouth. In “Mean Girls” the use of TikTok or Instagram reels was used one too many times (they did it about four times), inevitably pulling me out of the movie–watching–experience.

Towards the end, the movie felt a bit rushed. We all know how it ends and we’re all waiting for the iconic scene where Cady breaks the plastic tiara and shares it with the audience, but it felt as if they were trying to squeeze in all of the songs before their two hours were up.

All in all, if you go into it with an open mind, you’ll have a good time and good laugh.

However, if you’re still hesitant on whether or not you should watch it, save yourself the 15 dollars (yes, 15) and wait for it to hit streaming services.

Final Rating: 1.5/5

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About the Contributors
Nayeli Garcia
Nayeli Garcia, Staff Reporter
I'm a journalism major interested in exploring all of the different aspects of media and communication. I love art, film, reading and writing, photography and football (soccer). I hope to forge new connections with the community at De Anza and, hopefully, get to know myself a little better.
Akshath Mirukula
Akshath Mirukula, Freelance Reporter
Hi everyone, my name is Akshath and I am freshman business/math major here at De Anza. I look forward to working with you all!

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