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Film Review: MEAN GIRLS (2024): An Absolutely Delightful Good Time Undermined by a Lengthy Running Time

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Bebe Wood Renee Rapp Avantika Mean Girls

Mean Girls Review

Mean Girls (2024) Film Review, a movie directed by Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr. and written by Tina Fey and starring Angourie Rice, Renee Rapp, Auli’i Cravalho, Jaquel Spivey, Avantika, Bebe Wood, Christopher Briney, Jenna Fischer, Busy Philipps, Tina Fey, Tim Meadows, Jon Hamm, Ashley Park, Connor Ratliff, Mahi Alam, John El-Jor, Brian Altemus and Ben Wang.

The new version of Mean Girls is such an overall good time that a viewer may wish that it was just a tad bit shorter to make it more precise and to the point. There are plenty of humorous moments that play wonderfully but, unfortunately, the movie gets bogged down in one too many unnecessary scenes that serve to move the plot forward but can’t help but feel like extra padding. Writer Tiny Fey keeps the jokes on-target and the quips on point all the way through and this new version of the material still feels fresh and lively. While it’s not an improvement over Mark Waters’ classic 2004 comedy of the same name, it’s just at that same level of hilarity which will keep audiences satisfied.

Lindsay Lohan, the star of the 2004 film of the same name, appears late in this new reboot as a moderator of a math competition and it’s nice to see Lohan working again after some career ups and downs. Directed by Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr., this new musical reworking of the source material features a first-rate cast of different “mean girls.” Angourie Rice plays Cady Heron in the film, a sweet teenager who comes to a new neighborhood with her mom (Jenna Fischer). Cady is excellent at calculus, and has big dreams of fitting in at her new high school. When she meets a couple of charismatic school outcasts, Janis (Auli’l Cravalho) and Damian (Jaquel Spivey), the awkward pair helps Cady find her place. However, when Cady gets involved with the most interesting clique in the school, The Plastics, her life (and the lives of those around her) will change forever.

Fey appears in the new movie as Ms. Norbury who is Cady’s calculus teacher. In Norbury’s class sitting in front of Cady is a handsome guy named Aaron (Christopher Briney) who Cady takes a liking to. One problem, though: He has a history of being in a relationship with the leader of the Plastics, Regina George (Renee Rapp). So, Cady fakes difficulties with math to get Aaron to help her but complications ensue which drive the plot in hilarious ways.

The other Plastics are Gretchen (Bebe Wood) and the aptly named Karen (Avantika). Gretchen considers herself Regina’s BFF at first while Karen is far from being the brightest bulb in the bunch. This movie beautifully keeps the Plastics feeling fresh thanks to the evolution in technology that has occurred since the original movie. Now with apps like TikTok, the humor is targeted a bit more towards the internet in the new film than it was in the past picture. Avantika, in particular, steals the show and expertly handles her role in this picture. She sings a song about Halloween that is a true showstopper. Wood, on the other hand, feels like she could have a lot of potential as an up-and-coming young talent. She’s funny and entertaining to watch in her role here.

The revelation here, however, is the character of Cady as played by Rice who shines bright and makes her entrance into Hollywood as a true movie star with her work in this picture. She’s just as comfortable in sneakers as she is in the high heel shoes she inherits from Regina. Rice is a very versatile actress who handles every shift in her character’s personality with the utmost precision. She creates some good chemistry with her co-stars as well and her friendship with Janis has some touching developments.

Mean Girls suffers a bit from an abundance of scenes that meander such as a party scene that has Cady inviting people to her house to try to get closer to Aaron. That sequence felt like nothing more than a time-waster even though technically it does make the plot jump ahead. The school faculty beside Fey’s character is also a little lame from Jon Hamm as a coach to Ashley Park’s teacher character to Tim Meadows’ Mr. Duvall. A hysterically funny part of the new movie, though, has someone participating in the school functions and appearing in the school’s gym and dance sequences. This character, it turns out, doesn’t even “go” to this high school. Thanks to Fey’s writing, there are quite a few remarks here that will keep audiences laughing throughout the movie’s overlong running time.

While the musical numbers aren’t all successful, there are ultimately some really sweet moments here that will engage audiences as Cady goes through her paces in her interactions with the Plastics. Though a few of the musical interludes don’t flow as smoothly as they could, one can’t help but be touched by the concluding scenes set at the Spring Fling.

If you haven’t seen a previous Mean Girls project (there was also a Broadway musical), you will be thoroughly entertained by the new picture even if some of the jokes feel repetitive and some of the action lags due to the movie’s almost two-hour running time. Renee Rapp is also really well-cast as Regina who Cady tricks into eating weight-gaining protein bars. Rapp has captured her pivotal role in the film to a tee and gets some of the movie’s biggest laughs.

In the end, Mean Girls stands as the delightful Angourie Rice’s coming into stardom. Most audiences will be pleasantly surprised by how well Fey did in terms of keeping the material alive even two decades after the original movie graced the silver screen.

Rating: 7.5/10

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