Mean Girls (2024) Review: A Delightful Time at the Movies – The Linfield Review

There is a certain magic to capturing the barbaric qualities of high school on film. Each aspect from bullies to cliques, to love is heightened in the most satisfying way possible. The magic is in taking the more-or-less universal experiences of youth and exaggerating them into pure, unabashed, unashamed drama. While musicals are not my usual flavor of film, “Mean Girls” ended up being an incredibly fun film that I had a great time with. Directed by Samatha Jayne and Arturo Perez, with the script coming from Tina Fey, “Mean Girls” succeeds in capturing the slaughterhouse high school is capable of being.
Back of the DVD Summary: For the uninitiated like myself, Mean Girls follows Cady Heron (Angourie Rice) as she traverses the horrors of high school and a boy crush who used to date the Queen Bee Regina George (Reneé Rapp). The basics consist of Cady trying to navigate finding her place as the new girl, while also trying to figure out who she is and who she wants to be. The antics that ensue are a direct result of Cady’s attempts to dethrone Regina, but incidentally becoming an almost worse version.
Not having been previously familiar with the original “Mean Girls” or the Broadway version, I was unsure of what to expect from this one, but I can say I didn’t expect it to be so charming. Each song and the accompanying choreography felt bursting with character, only helped by the top-notch set design which made the lyrics and situations feel wonderfully embellished. Have a song about a revenge party? Then here’s a hallway dressed in a technicolor parade of joy while belting about Queen Bee Regina’s hopeful downfall. Another song about a daydream of new love, replacing a dropped pen with a rose and letting the classmates be dramatic background dancers and backup singers to the new, whimsical love. There is a sincerity to the film I appreciate; it wasn’t scared to be cheesy or corny, rather it used those elements to elevate the characters and drama. “Mean Girls” is unapologetically flamboyant. It’s okay to be sappy.
While I am not the intended audience for this film, I found that any issues I had from the plot to the weak dialogue were more a result of genre and less to do with the quality of the film. I was having a good enough time that the elements that left me puzzled I was able to look over, like the odd math tournament toward the end, or the boring love interest.
Cady’s transformation from outsider to a Queen Bee herself was to me an interesting idea and twist to the story, but the execution of it was a little rushed and awkward. In the course of the film it felt like it happened too fast. Perhaps a quick remedy might’ve been a song dedicated to Cady’s transition from meek to mighty whether by Cady herself or the other students. The other element that didn’t quite sing for me was Janice and Cady’s friendship because I felt like there was more screen time dedicated to Cady and Regina’s friendship. So when Janice and Cady’s split happened it didn’t have the emotional resonance I think it should have had. With more time put into that relationship, I feel like the movie would have been stronger. Besides those two issues, there are not any other major grievances I had with the film. At your convenience, go out and catch it on the big screen, especially if you are a fan of musicals, or have a fond nostalgia for the original.
The Linfield Review
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