The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

Staff Profile
Rito Perez
Rito Perez
Assistant Sports Editor

LH MOVIE REVIEW: Mean Girls

How watchable can a movie without “Meet the Plastics” be?
LH+MOVIE+REVIEW%3A+Mean+Girls
Wisdom Konu

Get in loser, we’re going shopping.

Mean Girls (2004) is Tina Fey’s newest “re-make.” As the production for Mean Girls (2024) began, fans were awaiting the date of release. With casting choices like Reneé Rapp, a Broadway-trained Regina George, the movie was looking to be one of the big hits of the year. But in the ways many of us expected it to be a hit, it took a shaky path to meeting expectations.

The discussion all over social media platforms revolved around the constant “advertising” of e.l.f. makeup products throughout the movie. While I love e.l.f. and its products, it did not serve much of a purpose except making the audience think they were watching an advertisement with the addition of a few popular songs mixed in. As we sat and watched the e.l.f lipstick fall into the sink, confused faces poured over the crowd. 

When it comes to Cady, the protagonist, I think we all can recall seeing the scene of her running with the camera in Revenge Party. This was just one of many interesting filming choices the directors made. It was very easily connected to the musical version in some shots, including Regina’s song Someone Gets Hurt, in which the cinematography felt very oriented around a “stage” that was represented by a room in the house party. These decisions felt off and disappointing for a movie, but in a way, they were just one way for the directors to form a tie between this adaption and the Broadway production.

But, the camera shot choices were not the only disappointing parts of the film. Although the producers and casting decisions made it clear that the movie would be related to the Broadway musical version rather than the movie from 2004, the constant bursts into singing were only sometimes smooth and easy to interpret. From the dance in Stupid With Love, a song Cady sings while in calculus, to the lack of Karen and Gretchen in Meet the Plastics, the musical component of the film did not include many of the necessary elements avid fans of the Broadway production were expecting. 

Now, the producers and directors did a great job at trying to tie in all aspects of the Broadway hit musical. With the addition of Reneé Rapp as Regina George, an artist who won the National High School Musical Theatre Award (Jimmy Award) for Best Actress which led to her casting in the Mean Girls Broadway production from 2019-2020, there were moments of that Broadway magic as viewers listened to her songs. Rapp, like other co-stars, made her debut in television and film recently in HBO Max’s The Sex Lives of College Girls, and unlike other co-stars, she continues to develop her music career as her EP and album are becoming major hits. 

The cast was one of the bright lights of the film. Along with Rapp, the other actresses who took on iconic roles as members of the plastics, Avantika Vandanapu as Karen Shetty and Bebe Woods as Gretchen Weiners, brought so much to the movie. Vandanapu took on the role of Karen, the “dumb plastic” and managed to play the part with such perfection that I left the theater still thinking about her song, Sexy. Woods gave an incredible rendition of Gretchen, the mousier yet somewhat loyal plastic. Her major parts in songs were removed from this adaption, which may have been one of the directors’ biggest mistakes.

While we all missed some of the best character lines like the lack of “Yes Regina, no Regina, every waking hour I spend making sure Regina George can stay in power,” there were a lot of things taken away with much more of an effect. Christopher Briney as Aaron Samuels made sense for the time the film was released, due to his increase in popularity after his role as Conrad in The Summer I Turned Pretty. However, his lack of a music background was prevalent when his parts in songs were cut completely. The directors made a lot of good choices to get the message of “judging others won’t make you better” across but some of their decisions made the film feel as though it was walking the line between musical adaption and movie remake.

There are many things that people will say about the movie: things that they wish wouldn’t have happened, characters they wish were played better, and songs they wish were included. But there was nothing to complain about when it came to Damian Hubbard and Janis Sarkisian (Janis Ian in the 2004 film). Played by Jaquel Spivey and Auli’i Cravalho, the well-known duo was the best part of the 2024 film. Not only did Spivey take the Damian we knew from the first film and play him with such musical genius, but Cravalho, who many recognize as the voice of Moana, was the only one who could’ve pulled off the things that needed to be pulled off. 

In the original Broadway musical, Barrett Wilbert Weed brought the role of Janis Ian to life, and those were some incredibly difficult shoes to fill. Witnessing Cravalho’s take on Someone Gets Hurt (Reprise) just proved how well she filled those shoes. In many ways, I felt I was comparing the characters to their Broadway counterparts rather than their 2004 counterparts. It did not seem fair to compare Angourie Rice to Lindsay Lohan, but in my comparison to Erika Henningsen (the original Cady in the Broadway production), the only obvious difference was pure musical ability. So when all the perfect voices filled in roles, Rice just didn’t make as much sense. Her acting was phenomenal, but her lacking in comparison was easily apparent when we heard her rendition of Stupid With Love and Apex Predator.

Taking on the producing role with both Mean Girls (2004) and Mean Girls (2024), Tina Fey’s remake remains just as iconic and fun. While the newest version was more comparable to a musical adaption, the similarities and differences of the movies are what made the 2024 version its own. As I left the theater, I was overwhelmed with excitement, hints of disappointment, and Sexy stuck in my head.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Little Hawk
$1925
$5000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Iowa City High School. For 2023, we are trying to update our video and photo studio, purchase new cameras and attend journalism conferences.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Kaitlyn Brown
Kaitlyn Brown, Sports Co-Editor
I have a cat named Robb and I like soccer
Wisdom Konu
Wisdom Konu, Executive Editor and Culture Co-Editor
at city im like princess diana
Donate to The Little Hawk
$1925
$5000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Little Hawk Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *