Though schoolboys often sort out their differences with a punch up in the playground, schoolgirls can be far more insidious towards each other. Spreading malicious gossip, ostracising those who they deem not to fit in and forming elite cliques that throw out snide remarks to others, they often find as they get older that the only outlet for their ‘talents’ is as a panellist on Loose Women. Mean Girls taps into that snide sadism and this 2024 version is the film of the musical of the 2004 film that starred Lindsay Lohan and was written for the screen by Tina Fey who again reprises her role here as teacher Ms Norbury.
This time we have Angourie Rice as new girl Cady Heron having been home schooled in Kenya and now having to fit in with the animals in her US High School. And the animals hunt in packs at the school too with the top dogs being the ‘plastics’ led by Regina (Renee Rapp) as the bitchy blonde and her two sidekicks, the utterly vacuous Karen (a quite brilliant Avantika Vantanapu) and the easily led Gretchen (Bebe Wood). At first Cady is taken under the wing of outcasts Damian (Bebe Wood) and Janis (Auli’i Cravalho) whose make-up testifies to the notion that it is impossible to apply it when driving down a road of speedbumps. They are the films narrators who warn Cady of all the schools cliques and where the power base lies which is with the plastics but it’s the plastics who invite her into their group. It’s a fragile friendship and ultimately an utterly poisonous one as the three plastics toy with her only for Damian & Janis to assist in orchestrating a revenge on Regina and all because Cady falls for Regina’s ex-boyfriend.
Like nearly all modern musicals it lacks the standout memorable tune but the best choreographed number is Karen’s ‘Sexy’ at a Halloween house party where Cady has the temerity to turn up in a suitably gory outfit whereas every other girl is dressed as sexy nurse, sexy vampire, sexy waitress etc.
This Mean Girls reboot has again been written by Tina Fey with a number of razor sharp lines although her own storyline as a teacher accused of drug dealing is superfluous and unnecessary. Both Rice and Rapp are good foils with great support from Spivey and Cravalho and there’s the obligatory but not unexpected cameo for fans of the first film. But its central theme of kindness working alongside success is perhaps even more relevant today in an age of the unfathomable appeal of many Tik-tokkers and instagrammers.
related feature : Tina Fey in A Death in Venice
Here’s the Mean Girls trailer…….