Get in, losers! We’re reviewing “Mean Girls” (2024). Twenty years after the original movie came out in theaters, a new “Mean Girls” movie based on the musical (which was based on the movie) was released. Overall, this new “Mean Girls” is the type of movie that you would watch to have a good, fun time. However, it does not hold a candle to the musical and especially does not hold a candle to the original movie.
“Mean Girls” (2024) falls short of both the musical and the original movie because it is not a good adaptation. There is an art to making a good adaptation, and the two main requirements are as follows: (1) to remain faithful to the original work as it best translates to the screen, deviating from the original in so far as it is better for the story, and (2) to be able to stand on its own two feet as a work of its own separate from the original source material.
“Mean Girls” (2024) fails to meet both of the aforementioned requirements which is why many fans of the original movie and the musical are not pleased. This movie has an overwhelming premise because it wears too many hats as it tries to do the following: stay true to the original “Mean Girls,” have an updated look for the present time, stay true to the musical, and also simultaneously not make it seem like a musical.
By wearing too many hats, there is no way for “Mean Girls” (2024) to remain faithful to the source material and stand on its own two feet.
As to remaining faithful to the original, “Mean Girls” (2024) is so afraid to offend anyone that it defeats the purpose of the title. This can be primarily seen in the fact that the insults in the Burn Book are not as mean as the original.
Unfortunately, neither are the characters as mean as the original. Regina George in this “Mean Girls” (2024) is just portrayed as a girl boss and not as the masterful manipulator who can ruin your life while Janis is just portrayed as a victim and not as someone who is equally as mean as Regina and knows it.
As for remaining faithful to the musical, thirteen songs were cut and out of the songs that did remain, many were altered and even then, they were not altered well. A prime example of this failed alteration is in the song “Apex Predator.”
Originally a duet between Janis and Cady, it is about Cady rising in the Plastics while Janis warns Cady to be careful with Regina as she rises in the Plastics. The movie has “Apex Predator” being a duet with Janis and Damian with Damian taking all of Cady’s lyrics. These changes absolutely make no sense to the story if you listen carefully to the lyrics of the song and compare both versions.
“Mean Girls” (2024) also fails in standing on its own two feet as a work of its own as hardly anyone is happy with the end result. By trying to please everybody, this new movie failed to please anyone.
With that being said, I did not hate “Mean Girls” (2024). I actually had a nice time watching it and there are some good things about this film. For example, I really enjoyed watching Reneé Rapp steal the show as Regina George in her feature film debut. She has the most powerful voice out of anyone in the cast and it shows that she played the role on Broadway.
Furthermore, the fact that I had a fun time watching the film means that there is some merit to this film. It’s a great movie to watch when you want to escape your troubles and reenter the world of North Shore High. But though it is a fun film, it is not a film that is (in the words of Gretchen Wieners) “fetch.”
Dear “Mean Girls” (2024), unless you succeed in the art of the adaptation, stop trying to make fetch happen. It’s not going to happen.