The Student News Site of St. Charles East High School, 1020 Dunham Road, St. Charles, Illinois 60174


The Student News Site of St. Charles East High School, 1020 Dunham Road, St. Charles, Illinois 60174


The Student News Site of St. Charles East High School, 1020 Dunham Road, St. Charles, Illinois 60174


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Mean Girls movie musical is met with mixed reviews

This picture shows the “plastics,” [left to right] Karen, Regina and Gretchen. Photo courtesy of Printerval.

Twenty years have passed since the 2004 “Mean Girls” movie, starring Lindsay Lohan and Rachel McAdams, was released. In 2020, a musical adaptation based on the 2018 Broadway show was announced and then four years later, the movie was released on Jan. 12, 2024.

The “Mean Girls” musical began with the classic “Gen-Z shake,” giving it an overwhelming cliche vibe—for example, one of the main characters, Janice, set her phone against something to record a video and it shook, sending the phone falling to the floor. This has been coined “The Gen-Z Shake” and showed that this wasn’t going to be the same “Mean Girls” as before.

The whole movie contained this similar feeling of Gen-Z cliches, ranging from the fashion of the Plastics—which looked like it came straight out of a Shein ad—to the repetitive incorporation of TikTok videos. This involved popular TikTok influencers Chris Olson and the Merrell twins, who made several cameos throughout the film.

As one of the first blockbuster movies of 2024, it had a shine of excitement around it; however, it was met with disappointment by much of its audience.

Some of the most popular backlashes regarded how heavy the ad placement was throughout the movie. The makeup brand Elf was a recurring theme many thought was a bad choice for the character of Regina George, claiming that the diva would never wear drugstore makeup. The new Motorola flip phones also made a cameo, shown as Cady gazed at her crush, played by Christopher Briney, best known for his role as Conrad in “The Summer I Turned Pretty.”

In most examples of cinema today, you can point out ad placement, but it is more subtle than in the Mean Girls musical. The Barbie movie, directed by the highly acclaimed Greta Gerwig, is seen in the high-speed chase as America Ferrera’s character revs up the iconic blue SUV made by General Motors. This made it clear that the movie was being sponsored by the vehicle brand, yet it was subtle enough that it didn’t feel “cringy” like the new Mean Girls movie was.

The casting for the movie was another instance that has been questioned and mulled over in the media. Pop singer Renee Rapp reprised the role of Regina George. The singer had played Regina on Broadway at the age of 18 before Covid-19. Australian actress Angourie Rice, best known for her roles in “Honor Society” and her minor role in the Spiderman movies, was cast as the leading role of Cady Heron. This came with much discourse among the media, as the actress isn’t known for her singing. Likewise, her opening song, “Stupid With Love,” has been criticized on Tiktok for the lack of consonants in her pronunciation of the lyrics. Tina Fey and Tim Meadows reprised their roles as Ms. Norbury and Principal Duvall, which felt like an appropriate callback to the original “Mean Girls” film. Regarding the adult actors cast to play high schoolers, it did feel out of place, as with most movies, for a 23-year-old to play Cady Heron and Rapp at 25 to play Regina George. The closest to high school age was Avantika Vandanapu, who has now turned 19. In her personal life, Rapp prefers a more “grown-up” look, wearing smaller-framed glasses. Some believed Rapp looked too old to be playing George, although I felt the casting was similar to most movies, with real high schoolers unable to play these parts due to their schooling.

Overall, parts of the musical felt like a good tribute to the original, with Lindsay Lohan making an appearance during the Mathlete competition and 19-year-old Vandanapu shining in her role as Karen, which a young Amanda Seyfried previously played. Every time Auli’i Cravalho came on as Janice, along with Jaquel Spivey as Damien, it seemed to save the musical aspect of the movie in a way. Cravalho previously voiced Moana in the animated Disney movie of the same name, and her powerful voice has time and time again shown her prowess and talent as a singer.

As the movie opened in Janice and Damien’s garage hang-out with the pair singing “A Cautionary Tale,” it closed in the same garage with the prom behind them, a satisfying ending to the musical.


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About the Contributor
Brynn Copp
Brynn Copp, Features Editor
Brynn is a junior at East. She plays the electric guitar for a youth band and enjoys crocheting in her free time.

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