Love it or hate it, Mean Girls is one of the most popular comedies ever.
It is riddled with countless quotable lines, unique yet hyper-stereotypical characters and gags that are still referenced today. And that’s before you get to the countless memes it spawned.
Despite being considered timeless by many who cherish the original film, Paramount has put together a remake of the iconic film precisely two decades after the original only this time, it’s a musical.
I don’t have a lot of complaints about the new Mean Girls, but I wish that the fact it was a musical had been better communicated. None of the trailers, posters or pre-release material had any indication that the film would be a translation of the Broadway musical. While having it as a musical isn’t bad, it feels a little misleading.
Much like the original and the musical, Mean Girls follows Cady (Angourie Rice) as she settles into high school after living most of her life in Africa.
She realises her place in the hierarchy of the school after becoming frenemies with the popular girls, the plastics, led by the self-absorbed Regina George (Renee Rapp).
Straight out the gate, Renee Rapp is a brilliant choice as the head plastic. I wasn’t aware that she was reprising her role from the stage musical. She is a more than worthy successor to Rachel McAdams, and with her brilliant onscreen presence and clear singing talent, she serves the film well.
On the other hand, there is Angourie Rice. I don’t normally like bashing Australian talent, but she was miscast here. Angourie Rice can act, just look at the brilliant Nice Guys or the fun high school drama Honor Society. The problem here is she can’t sing.
The movie is self-aware of this, too; whenever she has a musical number, she’s talking while everyone else is singing, which is very distracting. To pull off a musical, the actors have to either fully cheese it up or deliver their performances with complete sincerity and I don’t believe she did either.
The rest of the cast do their jobs well. There are a few returning faces and cameos from the original film, including the iconic Glen Coco!
Nostalgia will definitely entice older audiences to see this film.
The songs make for a welcome addition and help the new film feel less like a cash grab. While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea and could be disappointing for those who were expecting a modern-day retelling, I found myself enjoying it a lot more once I adjusted to the fact that it was a musical.
I don’t think this film will be as popular as the original as the script was fresh, the comedy was perfect for the time it was released and created a raft of superstars, including Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Seyfried and Amy Poehler. Once the novelty of a new Mean Girls being released passes, I think it will fade away as there is not much here that separates it from the original except the music. That’s not to say it’s bad, it’s just not as unique or iconic.
Mean Girls is playing around the country.