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The Wessex Wire

The Wessex Wire

REVIEW: “A Cautionary Tale”: Think twice before watching “Mean Girls”

Photo obtained from IMDb
The 2024 “Mean Girls” takes a new approach on a classic film, but misses the mark.

The Burn Book, pink on Wednesdays and “fetch” took the world by storm following the release of the classic 2004 chick flick, “Mean Girls.” The jokes and iconic scenes became a pivotal part of pop culture, eventually transforming into a hit Broadway musical with songs capturing the humor and style of the film. Finally, 20 years after the release of the original, the story has been brought to the big screen once again, this time including songs from the Broadway adaptation. But despite a star-studded cast, nostalgia failed to carry this highly anticipated movie musical to the success of the original. 

One of the movie’s few redeeming qualities was the powerful cast, most notably Renné Rapp (Regina) and Auli’i Cravalho (Janis).  Their powerful voices were a standout amongst silence and auto-tune. This was not surprising, however, due to both of their past performances, Rapp in the Broadway production of “Mean Girls” and Cravalho in Disney’s “Moana.” The remainder of the lead cast gave mediocre performances, none of which stood out nor dragged the movie down. Tina Fey, Tim Meadows and Lindsay Lohan, three actors from the original movie, made appearances, reviving the nostalgia from the 2004 film. The songs, humor and vocal performances saved this movie from being completely ruined by the failed attempts to bring the Y2K classic to 2024. 

“Mean Girls” tries too hard to take place in modern day, with Gen-Z slang and multiple references to TikTok destroying the nostalgia. Lyric changes to reference social media filters and words like “slay” and “queen” were prevalent in the film, making it evident that the script was composed by millennials attempting to follow the latest trends. 

This had the biggest impact in the iconic scene near the end of the film, where pages from the burn book are scattered throughout the school, students flooding the halls looking at the papers. In attempts to modernize the film, there were pages “scattered”  around the school virtually, with people simply looking at pictures of the pages on their phone screens. This scene brought us out of 2004 and into 2024, feeling too accurate to real life to the point where it was out of place. This completely destroyed one of the most memorable scenes from the 2004 classic. 

The outfits really pushed the movie over the edge. Many were not accurate to the 2004 movie, with iconic characters like Regina George wearing parachute pants and corset tops in high school. The integrity of the original movie was ruined in this cringey adaptation. 

The original source material salvaged the movie slightly, with the classic plot and powerful music only faulted by the production of the scenes and songs.  Iconic songs like “World Burn” and “I’d Rather Be Me” stayed true to the original, but not many followed this pattern. Two songs, “Stupid with Love” and “Apex Predator,” were completely changed from the Broadway version to be adapted in the film, with the instrumentals and even the melodies shifting. Many of Angourie Rice (Cady)’s singing parts throughout the movie were autotuned, which was made painfully obvious in her robotic vocals. On top of that, a majority of the songs from the Broadway musical were cut from the movie, with the 21 track Broadway cast recording on streaming services transforming into a 13 song movie soundtrack, with a new song replacing one of the originals. 

What did remain, however, were the countless jokes that have evolved with pop culture. October 3, “Get in loser,” Glenn Coco, “She doesn’t even go here” and other iconic one-liners reminded fans of why they attended the movie in the first place—to salvage the nostalgia from the 2004 film. 

The movie failed to achieve its two main goals, to transform a nostalgic and definitive piece of pop culture into a musical adaptation that takes place in the modern day. Despite Rapp and Cravalho carrying this film and the remaining nostalgic jokes which brought fans to the theaters, the film was incredibly disappointing, and was certainly not “so fetch.”

Behind the Byline
Molly Wolf, Managing Editor
Molly Wolf is a 2023-2024 Managing Editor for the Wessex Wire. When she is not spending time with her friends and family, she is usually scrolling through TikTok or listening to music. Her favorite singer is Taylor Swift and her favorite TV show is "Gilmore Girls." 
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