“Mean Girls” the Movie Musical: A Not So Fetch Adaptation of a Broadway Show

Burn book illustration by
Burn book illustration by
Abigail Heggem

When “Mean Girls” was recently released in theaters on Jan. 12th, 2024, I had the chance to see the movie and ended up having a lot of thoughts about it. This movie is an adaptation of the “Mean Girls” the musical that premiered in 2017 as a Broadway production and not a full reboot of 2004 original teen comedy. The movie adaptation follows the same premise as the 2004 film and Broadway show of the same name.

As Cady Heron who is portrayed by Angourie Rice transfers from her homeschooled environment to a high school, she meets fellow outcasts students Damian Hubbard, portrayed by Jacquel Spivey and Janis ‘Imi’ike, played by Moana’s Auli’i Carvalho. While befriending Janis and Damian, Cady encounters the nefarious Plastics; Regina George who is played by Reneé Rapp, reprising her role from the 2018-2020 Broadway production, Gretchen Weiners who is played by Bebe Wood, and finally Karen Shetty who is played by Avantika. As Cady falls into the hands of Regina George, she must make a decision on whether to be herself or become a cold-hearted plastic.

As someone who grew up loving and admiring all musical theater, I found this movie to be very hit-or-miss. Whilst I haven’t seen the original Broadway show, I thought that Rice was miscast as Cady. Not only did she show little emotion in her songs, but they had to lower the song “Stupid With Love” for her due to it not being in her range.

The biggest highlights were Spivey and Cravalho who stole the show every time on screen, especially during “Revenge Party” and obviously “I’d Rather Be Me” which showcases the rebellious and unapologetic side of Imi’ike. Rapp blew me away during George’s song “World Burn” which further proves that she still has it even after playing her on Broadway. Wood did a good job of showing her vulnerability as Weiners in the song “What’s Wrong With Me?” which proves that she is more than George’s lap dog. Honestly, I wish the movie showed more of her character so we can see what her motivations are.

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The last cast member that really surprised me the most is newcomer Avantika as Karen Shetty who is the ditzy friend of Regina George. Not only can you tell that she had a lot of fun playing the role of Shetty, especially during the song “Sexy”, but it also shows that she did a lot of research when it comes to playing Karen as she watched the original movie.

As I close out this article, my final thoughts on the movie were that I thought it was mediocre at best and the story felt clustered all over the place because I felt like they wanted to expand more on the characters but didn’t have the time to do so. I suggest that if you are a theater kid and like musical theater, go see “Mean Girls”, the movie musical if only for Carvalho, Rapp, and Avantika.

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