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“Mean Girls” isn’t mean, it isn’t nice, it’s just meh

As a musical theater lover and a fan of the original Mean Girls movie, I was incredibly anxious to see the musical remake of the 2004 classic. On top of that, hearing that Reneé Rapp was playing Regina George was a big reason for me to see the movie. Of course, I was very skeptical of the partially unknown cast and their abilities to bring the musical to life, like most people were.  

Based on the 2018 Mean Girls musical, this film uses the same soundtrack and plot line, with some exceptions. A few songs are produced differently, making them more fitting for a feature film soundtrack. Obviously set design and choreography contrasted the original movie and the musical. I prefer the vibe of the sassy, yet realistic, costuming and high school of the original movie, but I do like the modern twist on slang (the usage of “slay”), teenagers, and lifestyle. 

The stars of the movie are without a doubt Reneé Rapp and Avantika. Avantika portrayed Karen, alongside Rapp as Regina, the iconically ditsy plastic. She perfectly played one of the funniest characters with a hint of her own twist popping out. One of the most memorable scenes of the whole movie is when Karen (Avantika) uses a grilled cheese sandwich as highlighter on her makeup. It is hilarious, original, and so ridiculous that you can’t believe it.  

Directly after this scene is my favorite song and dance number: “Sexy.” I was entranced with the camera movement and cinematography of this number, taking us from Regina’s room to a giant Halloween party. The crazy amount of costumes, like corn, Joan of Arc, and a mouse, emphasized the lyrics and made the scene so much more enjoyable.  

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Unfortunately, only two other songs on the soundtrack made me feel this happiness. “World Burn” and “Someone Gets Hurt” are numbers two and three on my list. Both are sung by Rapp, and I would argue that her rendition of “World Burn” is almost better than the Broadway version. Her vocals are phenomenal, and the emotion in the song is unique.  

Now for the elephant in the room, or should I say the cow-eating snake in the room. Cady Heron, played by Angourie Rice, was by far my least favorite character of this movie. I would even rank Ms. Norbury (Tina Fey) ahead of her. She had a great voice, but it just didn’t fit the theatrical aspect of the soundtrack. In all honesty, she sounded very Kidz Bop.  

Despite the lower quality soundtrack and cringey characters, I loved the cinematography and camera movement of this movie. In the Halloween party scene, the camera beautifully shifts between Aaron and Regina to a sad looking Cady in her zombie bride costume. I absolutely adored how the camera movements matched the characters, the song (“Someone Hets Hurt”) and the choreography. These subtle – and not so subtle – shifts complemented the visual aspects of the scene in unpredictable ways.   

I enjoyed how appealing Mean Girls was to the eye. There were certain scenes that it was hard to look away from, including the “Revenge Party” scene which had so much going on that you wanted to catch all of it. I’ve got a long list of pros and cons for this one. It was crazy hectic in the best way possible, and I couldn’t stop laughing at the theatricality of it all. Students acting like jungle animals, magicians, and mentions of murder are just a few details that stood out to me. How all this nonsense turned into something so funny and beautiful is beyond me. 

On the other hand, I didn’t like some of the choices made. There’s one specific camera angle I am talking about, the fish-eye. A fish-eye type lens is used on Cady while she’s angrily storming down the hallway in “Revenge Party.” This visual choice takes your mind away from everything else that’s happening and forces you to focus on every little detail of Cady’s face, for no reason at all.  

On top of its faults, Mean Girls is a relatively good movie, and it was exciting to see the Broadway show come to life. I hate to hate on it, as I was wishing for the best as I walked into the movie theater. But as I left, I only wished for it to have been a tad bit better. My final review is a solid three and a half stars. 

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About the Contributor
Taryn Stern, Editor in Chief (Print)
My name is Taryn Stern and I'm in 10th grade. I joined newspaper because I like to write and tell stories. I hope to engage students and help create an interesting media source for the Westview community.
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