The student-run newspaper of Westridge School for Girls, Spyglass strives to build community and evoke empathy through the medium of journalism. Comprised of passionate student writers, editors, designers, managers, and leaders, Spyglass is dedicated to ethical reporting that amplifies our unique voices to inform, entertain, and forge connection in the Westridge community and beyond.

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The student-run newspaper of Westridge School for Girls, Spyglass strives to build community and evoke empathy through the medium of journalism. Comprised of passionate student writers, editors, designers, managers, and leaders, Spyglass is dedicated to ethical reporting that amplifies our unique voices to inform, entertain, and forge connection in the Westridge community and beyond.

Spyglass

The student-run newspaper of Westridge School for Girls, Spyglass strives to build community and evoke empathy through the medium of journalism. Comprised of passionate student writers, editors, designers, managers, and leaders, Spyglass is dedicated to ethical reporting that amplifies our unique voices to inform, entertain, and forge connection in the Westridge community and beyond.

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Mean Girls (2024) Falls Short of Fetch

Official+Mean+Girls+Poster+in+the+Universal+Studios+Cinema+%28Credits%3A+Rebecca+Lopez%29
Official Mean Girls Poster in the Universal Studios Cinema (Credits: Rebecca Lopez)

 I am a huge fan of the original Mean Girls (2004) movie, so when I walked into the Universal Studios theaters with my big popcorn bucket, I was excited to watch the new Mean Girls (2024). Unfortunately, by the end of the 2024 remake, I was very disappointed. Leading up to this special day, I was excited and took it upon myself to watch the Mean Girls Musical on Broadway and listen to the original soundtrack. I was very impressed by the vocals in the original musical, so I set my standards high going into the new movie. The film ended up falling short of my high expectations of “fetch,” and there were many aspects that contributed.

Mean Girls (2024) premiers almost 20 years after the cult classic original Mean Girls hit theaters in 2004. The 2024 film follows a nearly identical storyline to the original, while also incorporating dance and songs from the Broadway musical. Protagonist Cady Heron, whom Lindsay Lohan made iconic in the original, is played by Angourie Rice. The movie’s storyline follows Cady’s move from being homeschooled all her life in Kenya to Illinois, where she fulfills her dream of attending an American public school. When she arrives at school, Cady meets her new friends: Janis (Auli’i Cravalho) and Damian (Jaquel Spivey). Despite Cady’s shyness and lack of style, she is welcomed into the elite social clique known as The Plastics, led by the notorious Regina George (Reneé Rapp), along with her loyal confidants—Gretchen Weiners (Bebe Wood) and not-so-smart Karen Shetty (Avantika Vandanapu). In both the original and the musical adaptation, Mean Girls captures the reality of teenage social dynamics through Cady’s first experience in public school.

Jaquel Spivey, Angourie Rice, and Auli’i Cravalho in Mean Girls (2024) (Credits: Promotional clip from Paramount Pictures)

Unfortunately, the first red flag of the movie appeared before it even started. As I walked into the Universal Studios Movie theater, I was prompted with a fifteen-minute ad called Cosmetic Criminals, sponsored by e.l.f., a prominent cosmetics company. The entertaining—but long—advertisement prepared me for the ridiculous amount of product placement throughout the rest of the movie. 

The product placement in Mean Girls was in-your-face obvious and relentless, from displays of Glossier merchandise, scripted Seatgeek advertisements, and even an announcement of the full product name of a lip tint from e.l.f.. When Regina “accidentally” drops an e.l.f. lip gloss on the floor, the camera lingers on its logo for a solid five seconds, causing the audience in my theater to laugh at the egregiously unsubtle advertisement. At times, it made me wonder if I was watching an actual full feature film or an infomercial. I wouldn’t have been surprised if a “skip ad” button had popped up. As a result, I had a hard time feeling immersed in the movie.  

Not only did it feel like one long advertisement of a movie, but its take on Generation Z lifestyle was inaccurate and annoying. I’m tired of the media trying to capture the Gen-Z life through filming angles on iPhone screens and social media. The opening scene featured Cady’s friends, Damian and Janis, filming a video and singing the original Broadway song, “Cautionary Tale.” Opening a movie without taking advantage of the entire screen was not something I enjoyed. It was like watching a movie filmed for a Tiktok, but paying premium price for a full screen movie.

The song transitions in the movie were also abrupt and took me off guard. When the cast breaks out into song, it feels random rather than intentional. It felt to me that the movie couldn’t decide if it was a modern remake of the original movie or a movie musical, which is why the song transitions felt off.

In any remake, the recreation of well-known scenes from the original faces high stakes. It was obvious that Mean Girls (2024)

The Plastics, Gretchen Wieners in the back, Regina George in the middle, and Karon Shetty to the right of Regina in Mean Girls (2024) (Credits: Promotional clip from Paramount Pictures)

attempted to bring back iconic lines from Mean Girls (2004), like when Damian talks about Gretchen to Cady, “That’s why her hair is so big. It’s full of secrets,” or Gretchen’s classic line, “That was so fetch,” delivered in their pitch and tone.  The lines and the voices who delivered them are virtually inseparable. Hearing the same lines in new voices felt out of place and unnatural to me. I do understand it’s hard and nearly impossible to recreate the iconic scenes, but it was another disappointment for me.

Moreover, some scenes were simply hard to watch. In the “Revenge Party” scene, Cady plots her revenge against Regina George. The cellphone-film style felt awkward, and the close-up view of an angry Cady Heron’s lower face scared me out of any chance to properly enjoy the song.

However, there were some beautiful and entertaining scenes that clearly showcased the talent of the cast. When the Plastics were introduced, the whole cafeteria shook like an earthquake to emphasize the grand entrance of Regina George for the song “Meet the Plastics.” Reneé Rapp’s portrayal of Regina George was excellent. Her vocals left me speechless when she opened the scene with the iconic lyrics, “My name is Regina George, and I am a massive deal.”  

Yet, there was one thing about the “Meet the Plastics” scene that was missing. Since the title of the song is, “Meet the Plastics,” we expect to meet the rest of the Plastics—Karen Shetty and Gretchen Weiners. Instead, we only meet Regina. It’s a small difference, but Gretchen Weiners’ lyrics in the Broadway version of “Meet the Plastics” are one of my favorite parts of Mean Girls the Musical, so I was disappointed when Regina was the only focus in this scene. Later in the film, we do see both characters receive their own song scenes, but I wished that the audience could’ve met all of the Plastics at once. 

I also found the Halloween scene starring Karen to be incredible, perfectly showcasing the actor’s talent. Up-and-coming actress Avantika Vandanapu captured Karen’s stupidity and flirty persona perfectly. I enjoyed the song “Sexy,” which she stars in, because of the perfect balance between her humor and theatrical talent. The song lyrics also toy with this generation’s ambivalence toward the have-it-all feminism: “This is modern feminism talking, I expect to run the world in shoes I cannot walk in…”

Overall, Mean Girls (2024) isn’t as memorable or rewatch-able as the original, but the 2024 version succeeded in bringing a more modern tone to the classic pink movie.

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About the Contributor
Rebecca L., Staff Writer
Rebecca is a freshman in her third year of writing for Spyglass. Other than school work and volleyball taking up most of her time, you’ll find her constantly in cafes eating crepes and drinking iced chai lattes or amusement parks, especially during Halloween Horror Nights season.

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