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Entertainment & Media

Mean Girls (2024) – Pros and Cons

Maleah Gossai

Volume 4 Issue 4

May 29, 2024

Mean Girls (2024) – Pros and Cons

Image Provided by Elaine Ching

Over the last decade, many have pointed out that Hollywood has been doing more reboots and sequels than ever before. These criticisms came out at a time of Disney live-action remakes of classic animated films and sequels upon sequels to movies that either didn’t need it or had several sequels already. These criticisms have only proven truer with this year’s release of Mean Girls, a screen adaptation of the Broadway musical based on the 2004 movie. 

Mean Girls (2024) hasn’t just been critiqued for being a reboot of a cult classic,  

however. No, the criticisms go much deeper than that. The film, despite being a musical, was not at all marketed like one, leading many to believe that it was a cheap, cash-grabby remake rather than an adaptation of a Broadway show. This, along with claims of the actors not doing the characters justice and of the film just being bad, left a sour taste in the mouths of many viewers. However, today I’ll delve deep into the pros and cons of the film, at least from my perspective, to evaluate if these complaints are justified or if people were just desperate for a reason to hate the movie. 


Pro: The movie brings the musical to more people. 

As any musical fan knows all too well, seeing shows live on Broadway is, unfortunately, expensive. Many who wish to see a show will likely not due to the high price of tickets, which can be at least a hundred dollars a person. So, the release of a film adaptation of Mean Girls the Musical provides many aspiring theater kids with the opportunity to experience the musical for a fraction of the price. While yes, movie tickets have gotten much more expensive in recent years due to inflation, many who can’t afford Broadway tickets can still afford movie tickets, and with the movie recently hitting streaming, this brings the experience of Mean Girls in the comfort of one’s home, providing those who maybe can’t fork over the hundreds of dollars for a trip to Times Square with the chance to watch the Tony-nominated musical. 


Con: The songs in the movie fall flat. 

There’s a reason the movie was marketed without any mention of the songs: it’s because they’re not exactly the best. The songs from the new movie lack the same emotion, depth, or even just the composition as the ones from the original Broadway cast recording, and it shows. Take the song “Stupid with Love” as an example. It’s a song by our main protagonist Cady Heron about how she may be intelligent but simply cannot understand love and how it works as she navigates feelings for Aaron Samuels, the movie’s love interest. In the musical, actress Erika Henningsen sings the song with emotion, matching the song’s peppy and bright instrumentals with her vocals. However, in the movie, actress Angourie Rice, while her singing is pleasant, sings with less tone variety, making her iteration of the character seem much less enthusiastic than Henningsen’s. The song “World Burn” has this issue, too. The song, sung by our main antagonist, Regina George, is meant to convey how Regina feels after she realizes she’s been conned by Cady and as she begins framing Cady for having written the infamous Burn Book. In the original cast recording, actress Taylor Louderman sings the song with rage in her voice, exactly conveying how Regina felt in the moment, and the backing vocals reading out the terrible things written in the Burn Book make the song one of the best in the musical. In the movie, actress Renee Rapp does an excellent job as Regina, but the backing vocals and instrumental fall short of doing what made the original so great. 


Pro: The movie incorporates more diversity through its new cast. 

The original Mean Girls wasn’t exactly the most diverse movie. Sure, it was the early 2000s and diversity was not as good as it is now, but it still could’ve done better. This issue is somewhat adjusted in the 2024 adaptation, with three of our main characters – Janis, Karen, and Damian – being actors of color. Karen, now Karen Shetty rather than Karen Smith, is played by Indian actress Avantika Vandanapu. Janis, now Janis Sarkisian instead of Janis Ian, is played by Hawaiian actress Auli’I Cravalho. Damian, now Damian Hubbard rather than Damian Leigh, is played by Black actor Jaquel Spivey. While sure, nothing can ever truly “fix” the original film’s diversity issue, and yes, Hollywood should be funding original films with characters of color rather than rebooting films and casting actors of color in them, this more diverse cast is a welcomed change from the original film and gives people of various backgrounds a chance to see themselves in a movie as classic as Mean Girls


Con: It’s far, far too soon to reboot a cult classic. 

The original Mean Girls is having its 20th anniversary this year in October. However, while 20 years is a long time (especially since this movie is older than I am), it feels way too soon to shove the original to the side in favor of the new movie, especially one as ingrained in pop culture as Mean Girls is. The movie is a classic, there’s no denying it, and while the new movie can stand on its own as an adaptation of the musical, it just feels like a cheap attempt at making money based on existing intellectual property (IP), which, unfortunately, it is. Maybe if it had been worked on for longer, if it had been given a few more years for the original movie to become an “old movie,” it would’ve been more successful as a reboot. The original Mean Girls has never been an “irrelevant” franchise, as its sheer status as a classic 2000s teen flick has been enough to cement in the minds of adults and teens. If the movie had been pushed back a few years to a 2029 release date for the film’s 25th anniversary, maybe it could have been an excellent, critically acclaimed musical adaptation that pays respect and homage to the original. As it stands, the movie falls into the same category as Disney live-action remakes: a film created in order to capitalize on the success of the preexisting IP of a beloved franchise. That’s not to discredit the movie’s quality in any way, of course, but the film has that air of “Hollywood cash grab” to it that unfortunately can’t be canceled out by its uniqueness as a musical reboot rather than just a remake. 


Final Verdict: It’s a good movie; it’s just a product of Hollywood’s current state. 

As someone who checks all the boxes for this movie’s target audience, I can safely say I liked this movie. It’s no cult classic, of course, that status still belongs to the original, and while the music isn’t on the same level as the original musical’s, it’s still a fun, enjoyable watch. Much of the criticism was unfounded, likely caused by the fact that people couldn’t handle that they rebooted Mean Girls at all, but in most cases like this, the internet often blows things out of proportion. Sure, it’s a cash-grabby reboot greenlit by Hollywood execs in order to squeeze a quick buck out of one of the most beloved 2000s movies out there, but it’s a good cash grab that makes for a good time, especially when watched with friends or loved ones. The internet isn’t always to be trusted, and this case is no exception. Mean Girls (2024) is an entertaining movie that will surely entertain fans of original and new fans alike. 

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