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Imply Ladies 2024 Evaluate: Musical Remake Stays A Sensible Have a look at Teen Turmoil

Imply Ladies 2024 Evaluate: Musical Remake Stays A Sensible Have a look at Teen Turmoil

Two decades after it first hit cinemas, pop phenom Mean Girls gets a musical reboot, based on the Tony-nominated stage show. The enduring popularity of the 2004 film, which captured the savagery of schooldays with pep and panache, has kept it part of our cultural fabric. But folding some poppy showtunes into the mix is an appealing notion, while a lot has changed in 20 years. Read on for our review of the 2024 Mean Girls movie.

Screenwriter Tina Fey updates her original script (itself based on Rosalind Wiseman’s 2002 book Queen Bees and Wannabes) and steps back into the sensible shoes of beleaguered maths teacher Ms Norbury (also returning is her admirer, Principal Duvall, played by Tim Meadows). Angourie Rice takes over from Lindsay Lohan as new kid Cady, who goes from being homeschooled in rural Africa by her anthropologist mother (Jenna Fischer) to being thrown into the jungle of US high school.

mean girls 2024 review
Tina Fey shines in the 2024 Mean Girls musical, which has garnered rave reviews. (Image: Mean Girls)

Fortunately, Cady is taken under the wing of two savvy outsiders, Janis (Auli’i Cravalho) and Damian (Jaquel Spivey), who also act as the film’s narrators, and is simultaneously drawn to a group of ostensibly popular girls: the notorious “Plastics”. Led by Reneé Rapp’s total biatch Regina (the “apex predator” as one song dubs her), with Avantika’s dim-witted Karen and Bebe Wood’s eager-to-please Gretchen making up numbers, the clique are the talk of the corridors.

But acceptance into the fold comes at a price and the trio are not to be trusted. And when Cady falls for Regina’s ex, Aaron (Christopher Briney), things get ugly fast.

Mean Girls 2024 review: Watch or skip?

It can be a bit of a strange experience watching something that is so close to its beloved predecessor, particularly as the film has opted to retain much of the original script. Without a significant rewrite, some of the attempts to bring things up to date – mainly in the form of social media hot takes – can feel a little tacked on.

However, most of Fey’s new gags blend in seamlessly and, with the line delivery occasionally coming across like an odd imitation of what’s gone before, it’s the new jokes rather than the old that stand out.

mean girls 2024 review
The ‘Plastics’ in the musical remake of Mean Girls. (Image: Mean Girls)

Debut narrative feature directors Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr do a decent, at times dynamic job, incorporating the musical numbers impressively with slick, snappy transitions. The kids bursting fairly randomly into song can be fun, and yet – and this is the real sticking point – the tunes themselves (which presumably are the justification for the entire project) don’t exactly pop.

Fey’s husband, Jeff Richmond, is behind the music, with Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde: The Musical) on lyrics, yet what they’ve come up with lacks the same comic snap as Fey’s script, or hooks so catchy that it would hardly matter. And, although the musical numbers bring extra attitude to the party, they can sometimes feel like a belaboured explanation of what we already know.

The original film had a remarkable eye for talent, launching the careers of Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfried and Lizzy Caplan (Lohan was a successful child star prior to its release) and this offers up its own clutch of up-and-comers.

Reprising her role from the stage show, newcomer Rapp has the fierceness and swagger of a professional singer (she released her first album Snow Angel last year) and brings that fire to her musical performances. She distinguishes herself well from McAdams’s portrayal of Regina, but the comedic chops and underlying charm of McAdams are missed.

Rice is a good match for the earnest but easily led Cady, while Cravalho (who voiced Disney’s Moana) and Spivey well and truly steal the show. From the older generation, Jon Hamm is a highlight as inappropriate sex educator Coach Carr.

It might not be perfect but there’s no reason why Generation Z shouldn’t have their own take on this eternally relevant story, and Fey remains a class act. Now with added sass as well as songs, Mean Girls remains a smart, relatable look at teen turmoil.

See Also

Enjoyed our review of the 2024 Mean Girls musical reboot? The movie released in the US on 12 January 2024; fingers crossed that it premieres in Malaysia soon.

(All images: Mean Girls)

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Source: Prestige Online

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