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Is ‘Mean Girls’ 2024 hot stuff or a hot mess? The reviews are in

What happens when you take a beloved early-2000s classic and give it a musical twist? That’s the question on everyone’s lips with the 2024 remake of Mean Girls, a film that not only revisits the iconic 2004 movie but also spins it with a Broadway flair. But does this fusion of film and stage manage to reignite the magic, or does it fall short of its predecessor’s charm?

When Nostalgia Meets Modernity

The 2024 adaptation of Mean Girls sticks closely to the original’s storyline, with a few tweaks to blend in the musical numbers. While the essence of the story remains, the transition from screen to stage and back to screen hasn’t been seamless. 

The characters, once complex and relatable, now feel somewhat abbreviated, with Cady Heron’s (played by Angourie Rice) character arc especially feeling a bit undercooked. The portrayal of Regina George by Reneé Rapp, although competent, lacks the gravitas the role demands.

The subplots, including the vengeful scheme by Janis (Auli’i Cravalho) and Damian (Jaquel Spivey), zip by too swiftly, leaving little room for the new cast to truly make these iconic roles their own. 

This hastened pace, likely a side-effect of adapting a stage musical, results in a film that feels more like a retelling than a fresh take. The musical numbers, though energetically performed and visually captivating, can’t fully compensate for the film’s lean narrative.

Familiar Ground

Directorial debutants Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr. showcase their flair in the musical sequences, which are the remake’s standout feature. Numbers like “Someone Gets Hurt” and “Revenge Party” dazzle with their choreography and emotional resonance. Cravalho’s performance in “I’d Rather Be Me” is particularly mesmerizing, proving the stage musical’s popularity wasn’t just a fluke.

Yet, despite these moments of brilliance, the movie struggles to find its footing as a standalone piece. It seems trapped in a limbo between homage and innovation, bringing the Broadway hits to a wider audience but at the expense of the soul that made the original film so endearing.

Just the Beginning?

Mean Girls lands in theaters on January 12, promising a blend of old and new. But the question remains: Will this new version find its own identity, or will it simply be remembered as a nostalgic echo of its former self?

The marketing for the Mean Girls remake has been peculiar, to say the least. With its release date looming, the film’s trailers have leaned heavily on the original’s well-worn jokes, with only hints of

the musical elements peeking through. It’s an interesting strategy, banking on nostalgia while teasing a fresh, musical twist. The trailers showcase iconic lines and scenes, like Regina’s famous “Get in, loser” line, alongside snippets of new songs barely audible in the background. This approach raises the question: Is this remake truly a new interpretation, or is it content to ride the coattails of its beloved predecessor?

Familiar Faces, New Beats

Despite the reliance on familiar elements, the remake does offer some intriguing updates. The cast, led by breakout star Reneé Rapp, brings a fresh energy to these well-known characters.

 Teasers suggest a modern twist with social media playing a significant role, potentially giving the story a much-needed update for today’s digital age. However, the trailers have been somewhat coy about the extent of these updates, leaving audiences to wonder just how different this version will be.

The inclusion of Broadway numbers in the film remains an enigma. While the trailers have featured a track by Megan Thee Stallion, they’ve been surprisingly sparse on showcasing the actual musical elements from the Broadway show. This creative choice is puzzling, especially considering the potential these numbers have to breathe new life into the story.

Make Fetch Happen Again?

As Mean Girls prepares to make its 2024 debut, it stands at a crossroads of expectation and innovation. With a dynamic young cast and the allure of Broadway-style musical numbers, the film has all the ingredients to be a hit. 

Yet, its reliance on nostalgia and the reticence to fully embrace its musical roots leave many questions unanswered. Will audiences flock to theaters for a trip down memory lane, or will they be seeking a new, vibrant interpretation of this high school saga? And perhaps more importantly, is this remake truly a rebirth of a classic, or merely a reflection of its former glory?

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