‘Mean Girls’ Review: A Respectable Remix with Plenty of High Notes

Written by Matt Rodriguez

The newest Mean Girls is a musical. That might not surprise the biggest of fans who have been following the production of the film, which is based on the Broadway musical which in turn is based on the 2004 comedy adapted from a novel. The general public might be caught off guard though because the trailers for the film don’t do a good job at showcasing any of the musical aspects of the film, and instead rely on recreating classic moments from the original. And while the story remains mostly the same, it’s the musical moments that prop up the film as more than just a standard remake. Mean Girls is a respectable remix with plenty of high notes.

After living in Kenya for the majority of her life, 16-year-old Cady Heron (Angourie Rice) moves back to the United States and enrolls at North Shore High School. Like a lamb thrown to the lions, Cady quickly finds her place among the student hierarchy, where Plastics queen bee Regina George (Reneé Rapp) reigns supreme. Outsiders Damian (Jaquel Spivey) and Janice (Auliʻi Cravalho) befriend Cady and together they conceive a plan to infiltrate the Plastics and knock Regina down a step or two. The plan goes too well, however, and soon Cady starts acting like a real Plastic and not just imitating them. Real friendships are put to the test as Cady does her best to navigate the complexities of high school life.

I have never seen the Broadway musical that Mean Girls is based on, but the original 2004 Mean Girls film remains an absolute classic. This musical version brings the songs from the stages and blends them into the story from the original film to create something familiar yet also refreshingly different to not just be a straight up remake. The songs themselves can be hit or miss. There are some great bangers, like “Meet the Plastics,” “Revenge Party,” and “I’d Rather Be Me.” Honestly, any time Reneé Rapp steps into the spotlight you know it’s going to be a solid song. Rapp starred as Regina on Broadway and reprises the role in the film, and she nails it just as expected. There are also songs like “Sexy” that just don’t work and could have been left on the cutting room floor. I’ve heard that some of the Broadway musical’s best songs were left out of the film so be wary, too.

While the songs are good, I was even more impressed by the cinematography, choreography, and just general production of Mean Girls. The transitions from scene to song are fantastic and seamlessly blend together. The opening shot alone where Damian and Janice are filming a TikTok only to have the camera open to full screen as they move from the the cramped space of a classroom to the wide open planes of Kenya is visually stunning. Another song is done in a single take as Janice goes from room to room throughout the school. Regina sings “Someone Gets Hurt” while a Halloween party around her remains frozen in the moment. Mean Girls takes some big swings with its camera work and for the most part it pays off.

Mean Girls doesn’t add much to the spirit of the original classic other than a few song and dance numbers, and it honestly doesn’t need to. It updates the themes a little for a newer generation, but the message remains the same. Also, whoever casted Jenna Fisher and Angourie Rice as mother and daughter deserves a raise because Rice is the splitting image of a younger Fisher. The songs are solid, and the film is fun and bright. Mean Girls might not be as fetch as 2004’s version, but they all wear the same shade of pink.

  • Mean Girls


While the story remains mostly the same, it’s the musical moments that prop up the film as more than just a standard remake. Mean Girls is a respectable remix with plenty of high notes.

About the author

Matt Rodriguez

Owner and Chief Editor of Shakefire.