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Mean Girls — Review

Mean Girls, the musical rendition of the popular 2004 film with Lindsay Lohan, came out on 19 January, 2024, after months of buildup, and people are divided. There seems to be a love-hate relationship with the script, costumes, actors, and music. I saw the film last week and can officially say I completely understand why the reviews are mixed. I walked out of the theatre simultaneously awestruck and confused by the utter absurdity of what I had just seen. As a lover of music and fashion, I had a lot of thoughts.

This might be a ‘me’ problem, but I don’t think musicals make good on-screen films most of the time. There are exceptions, but this movie was absolutely not one of them. Everyone in the theatre started giggling every time Cady started singing, and I couldn’t blame them. Her voice was unbelievably monotonous, and to put her singing on the same level as Reneé Rapp was criminal. Musicals are supposed to be a theatrical presentation of ordinary events, and Angourie Rice somehow made the ordinary events even more unremarkable. Every one of her solo songs felt like purgatory to sit through, and I’m not exaggerating. 

I may sound a bit harsh, but I think I could have handled the music more had the costumes and outfits been better. They put some of the most beautiful actresses of our generation in a horrifying array of clothes that just got worse and worse. I’ve seen tweets calling it “Shein Girls”, and that just about sums it up. While there were exceptions, most of the outfits were made out of cheap and tacky material that would rip after one go in the washing machine. Especially since the original Mean Girls was set in 2004 at the height of Y2K, they could have done so much better. Switching out the cheap leather jacket for a vintage one or putting Reneé Rapp in a mini skirt instead of cargo pants would have made a world of a difference. The reality is, if Mean Girls really was set in 2024, Regina George wouldn't be following microtrends — she would be wearing expensive clothes that are ahead of the trend cycle and of durable quality. Karen, who was played by Avantika Vandanapu, had some fantastic and on-brand outfits, but Regina’s looks were a miss.  

Speaking of Avantika, her rendition of ‘About Sexy’ was the only singing scene I genuinely enjoyed apart from Reneé’s songs. She killed it, from the outfit to the dancing and singing, and her performance was fun and flirty, as it should be. I think it was only topped by Regina’s introductory song ‘Meet the Plastics’, which was scary and seductive, as opposed to simply mean. I felt like I was being flirted with while also getting bullied, which would be weird if it was any other actress, but Reneé Rapp walked that line perfectly. My only complaint was that the producers seemed to want to hide her body at all costs. In her performance of ‘Someone Gets Hurt’, directors only showed the top half of her while she was singing, which made for an awkward cut that could have been show-stopping. 

While this film had a range of cringe-worthy moments, from songs to outfits, it is an enjoyable watch if you’re a theatre kid, if you’re feeling particularly hateful, or if you want to experience getting hit on while getting your feelings hurt. It definitely doesn’t top the original Mean Girls movie, but it was so different that it didn’t really have to. While our cinema is still open, I recommend giving it a watch and forming your own opinions on it.

Image from Wikimedia Commons

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