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Photo Credit: Lorne Michaels

Why Mean Girls (the new movie) didn’t work as expected (Op-Ed)

Audiences’ responses to the new Mean Girls musical were, to put it mildly, divided. The preview failed to provide any information that would have helped viewers anticipate or understand this new Mean Girls. The strange decision to adapt it musically stood out, however, as did the apparent reluctance to disclose its musical aspect.

I like musical theater and the original Mean Girls. But when you’ve heard the musical version, you’ll see that combining the two was like mixing tastes that didn’t go together. 

The 2004 Mean Girls film’s concept seems a little dated today. Having spent her formative years in Kenya, the story follows Cady Heron as she navigates the complexities of American high school. Nevertheless, it’s hard to believe that Cady wouldn’t share details of her extraordinary childhood on social media currently. 

Reneé Rapp’s performance as Regina George is one of the most noticeable mistakes made by the new Mean Girls. Although Rapp gives a strong performance and is a talented young girl, the script doesn’t do justice to the character. The 2024 version of Regina isn’t as good as the one portrayed by Rachel McAdams, who was known for her biting quips and sharp tongue. Rather of using Regina’s vileness in conversation, the film relies on uninspired musical pieces that understate her nature.

The movie’s larger problems with character development and pace are highlighted by this softer depiction of Regina George. There are too many musical interludes, which slows the tempo to a crawl, and the characters are introduced too quickly in the first act, which leaves spectators unconnected. The film has a hard time keeping its focus and energy due to its lengthy running duration and several unmemorable tunes.

Finally, it seems like an opportunity was lost with the new Mean Girls musical. It may get some buzz and do well at the movie office, but it can’t hold a candle to the original thanks to its drab production values. In the end, it seems less like an effort to reinterpret a great film for a new audience and more like a money grab.

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