Mean Girls

Verdict: The remake is not a patch on the original but it still quite fun at times

Cady Heron gets sucked into the world of the Plastics in the movie adaptation of the Mean Girls stage musical.

The iconic 2004 teen classic Mean Girls has been given the musical treatment.

The reboot, based on the stage musical adaptation of the original, stars Angourie Rice (not Lindsay Lohan) as Cady Heron, a homeschooler who tries out high school for the first time.

She is invited into the popular world of the Plastics, made up of Regina (Renee Rapp), Gretchen (Bebe Wood) and Karen (Avantika), but when Regina makes out with Cady’s crush Aaron (Christopher Briney), she vows to take the queen bee down with the help of her new friends Janice (Auli’i Cravalho) and Damian (Jaquel Spivey).

This version was never going to be as good – or better than – the original, which remains the benchmark for high school comedies to this day.

While this remake was not necessary, it was more fun than expected.

Naturally, given that it’s been 20 years, the original Mean Girls has not aged well and it needed a lot of updates.

Screenwriter Tina Fey (who also returns as Ms. Norbury) incorporated social media and brought the humour and insults in line with today’s sensibilities by watering down certain lines or removing them altogether.

The reboot worked best when it offered something new and didn’t try to copy its predecessor because hearing the same lines again word-for-word just reminded you that the first film was perfect and cannot be improved upon.

A few plot points were dispensed with to make way for the musical numbers, which were very cringeworthy lyrically.

You can almost ignore the dodgy lyrics when the tracks are sang really well or when they’re accompanied by fun visuals, like the Sexy and Revenge Party sequences.

The standout cast members were Cravalho and Spivey as the new Janice and Damian. They had warm personalities, a great sense of humour and the best voices. They didn’t try to copy Lizzy Caplan and Daniel Franzese and their spin on the characters worked well.

Also, Rapp had the exact right energy for Regina, Busy Philipps was hilarious as her overbearing mum, and Avantika threw herself into the dim-witted Karen.

The biggest downside casting-wise was Rice, who might not have been the right fit for Cady.

She’s a good actress but her singing was weak and she seemed too nice for Cady’s mean girl transformation to fully work.

This version was a huge improvement on the original in terms of diversity and inclusion and respecting people’s weight and sexuality but the 2004 film did everything else better and will always be the go-to Mean Girls.

In cinemas from Wednesday 17th January.

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