The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

“Mean Girls” review: The movie musical adaptation can sit with us

Yù Yù Blue

Even if you’re a certified musical theater hater, the “Mean Girls” movie-musical was worth the watch. We know everything about the 2004 original movie but wanted to be surprised about the musical. We were excited for Reneé Rapp starring as the iconic Queen Bee Regina George, a role she played on Broadway, and were surprised about the clash of campy musical theater. 

We knew going in we weren’t going to get a total mimic of the movie, which worked in its favor to be a reflection of what mean girls are like in 2024. 

One of the key aspects of the original movie was being able to hear Cady’s internal thoughts throughout the plot. It’s how we saw her character’s demise and development in real time. This was a key feature missing in the musical that took away Cady’s point of view in favor of characters Damien and Janis becoming narrators who occasionally break the fourth wall. 

If the audience had no familiarity with the original movie or musical beforehand, Cady’s demise and redemption may seem surface-level. We looked heavily at Cady’s costumes and makeup to see how she grew to become a “mean girl” and go back to her roots. 

At the final showdown in the state mathlete competition, we infer Cady realizes her taunting her competitor won’t make her better when she says “Why was I judging her hair?” It was an iconic moment in the movie when Cady teaches us that being mean is unnecessary in the grand scheme. I don’t know if that point hit home in this adaptation. 

We understand the demand to update the fashion to reflect the 2020s, but with the rise in Y2K fashion, we believe the film missed an opportunity to stay tried and true. Some of the costumes looked straight off of SHEIN, a fast fashion retailer. Regina’s pink outfit was a standout but most of the outfits worn were unoriginal. Sticking with Y2K would have been the move to add more reasoning/opinion. 

Having watched the original movie a day before, we were honestly shocked at some of the comments and outward slut shaming in iconic quotes like “Boo you, whore!” Obviously, 20 years later, things have changed for the better and we’re glad the musical-movie took a different turn. The emphasis on female sexuality was never funny in the first place. Even then, there were some jokes poking fun at Karen that should have been removed. 

There were also many homophobic and racial slurs in the original movie aimed at several characters. We’re glad they were removed, but the poke at Janis’s sexuality still makes it despite the removal of the lesbian slur. Of course, her revenge is rooted in the homophobic treatment from Regina, but we don’t know if it was warranted further.  

The movie did not need modernization with the use of social media. The graphics of everyone blowing up TikTok and Instagram to spread rumors looked tacky. There is merit in how social media has influenced the way we gossip but in the context of “Mean Girls,” it doesn’t fit. We’re reminded that all the dirty work is done via the Internet, a theme we don’t associate with “Mean Girls.” We wish that aspect was thrown out the window. 

Regina’s classic moment of throwing the copies of the burn book around the halls of Northshore High was replaced with people sharing it on social media. This was a miss in the film — even in the age of technology, it didn’t hit the same way the classic scene went down. 

“Mean Girls,” the movie musical held up to the pop culture status of the original movie even if some of the ways it was modernized were for the better or for the worse. She can sit with us.

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