The cast of Mean Girls doing the iconic christmas dance in 'Mean Girls'

‘Mean Girls’ Is a Grool Adaptation of the Musical

Mean Girls went from a movie to a stage musical, and now its latest iteration brings the musical to the big screen. And it does feel like the perfect way to explore a movie-turned-musical-turned-movie musical. It’s what the Plastics would have wanted.

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I am someone who has mixed feelings on Mean Girls as a Broadway adaptation because it did come with the death of another movie-turned-musical that I loved: Groundhog Day. That, in turn, made me less than warm to the idea of the musical. I will happily say that I was wrong in regards to the movie, an updated take on the teen comedy from Tina Fey that was a staple in my classrooms growing up.

With some of the iconic jokes still intact and songs that are catchy enough to stay in your head long after you’ve left the theater (I’ve had “Apex Predator” stuck in mine for an entire week now), what makes this take on Mean Girls work is that it does the work to update the story, jokes, and characters that the 2004 movie brought to life.

What doesn’t work is how some of the film was shot by Samantha Jane and Arturo Perez Jr., because sometimes, it feels a little too shaky while you’re watching it. In comparison to other teen musicals brought to the big screen, Mean Girls has the advantage over titles like Dear Evan Hansen and makes up for any misgivings with a brilliant new cast.

Watching Reneé Rapp’s take on Regina George (who she played on Broadway) makes the movie that much more exciting, and mixed with Avantika Vandanapu’s take on Karen, the movie does a great job of making this adaptation of Mean Girls feel fresh and new while still remaining true to the source material.

So fetch!

The Plastics all standing on a staircase in Mean Girls
(Paramount Pictures)

The Plastics and their dynamic in the updated take makes their friendship at least a little more understandable. Whenever Regina is rude to Gretchen (Bebe Wood), it comes from a place of former love, and you can see it in how Gretchen reacts to it. For Karen, the plastics don’t make fun of her intelligence in the same way the original film does, and it makes Karen’s antics that much funnier (like taking a selfie of herself instead of the picture asked of her).

Angourie Rice’s take on Cady and her evolution into being a Plastic is very different from Lindsay Lohan’s in the original movie, but that’s what makes the musical such a fun take on this comedy—all told to us through Jaquel Spivey’s Damian and Auli’i Cravalho as Janis.

Damian, Janis, and Cady all looking through the bushes in 'Mean Girls'
(Paramount Pictures)

Cravalho’s take on Janis is a much needed update to the story, and with the way she builds a relationship with Spivey’s Damian that does ring true to friends from childhood, they both are shining aspects of the movie as a whole. And maybe that’s because they are our narrators and bring us into the story.

Overall, Mean Girls isn’t reinventing the wheel, but it is bringing a musical adaptation to the bring screen in a way that works and works well. Getting to see Mean Girls in this format is fun, making for a movie that I think many are going to rewatch time and time again.

(featured image: Paramount Pictures)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.