In 2004, “Mean Girls Movie” burst onto the silver screen, capturing the hilarity and brutality of high school with its iconic lines, quotable burns, and pink-infused world of teenage cliques. Fast forward two decades, and the Plastics are back, this time belting their way through the halls of North Shore High in the musical adaptation directed by Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr.
Stepping into the shoes of Tina Fey’s beloved characters are a fresh, young cast led by Angourie Rice as Cady Heron, the homeschooled newcomer swept into the orbit of the infamous Plastics. Reneé Rapp takes on the mantle of Regina George, the queen bee whose reign of terror is threatened by Cady’s infiltration. Auli’i Cravalho and Jaquel Spivey provide comedic counterpoints as Gretchen Wieners and Karen Smith, Regina’s devoted minions with hearts of gold (and a penchant for bad dancing).
The movie “Mean Girls,” isn’t simply a note-for-note replication of the original. Jayne and Perez Jr. infuse the narrative with vibrant musicality, seamlessly integrating over 14 original songs by Jeff Richmond and Nell Benjamin. From the infectiously bubbly “On Wednesdays We Wear Pink” to the poignant ballad “Beautiful,” the music adds depth and dimension to the characters, revealing their inner lives and vulnerabilities.
Cady’s journey unfolds through songs like “Stupid Girl,” a catchy anthem of teenage self-discovery, and “It’s Gonna Be Awesome,” a duet with the outcast Damian (portrayed with quirky charm by Avantika), hinting at an unlikely friendship that blossoms over shared outsider status. Regina’s complexities are laid bare in “My Reputation,” a powerful number acknowledging the pressures of maintaining her queen bee image while secretly yearning for genuine connection.
One of the film’s greatest triumphs is its modernization of the themes. Issues of body image and social media, absent in the 2004 film, are woven into the narrative through songs like “Body Language” and “Hashtag Burn Book,” reflecting the challenges faced by teenagers in the age of digital scrutiny. While retaining the humor and bite of the original, the musical expands on the emotional core, reminding us that beneath the glossy exterior of teenage angst lie insecurities, dreams, and desires that yearn to be seen.
Jayne and Perez Jr. prove to be adept directors, navigating the transition from screen to song with fluid choreography and visually stunning set design. The iconic Burn Book scene is reimagined as a mesmerizing dance number, while the Spring Fling becomes a spectacle of neon lights and synchronized body movements. The energy is infectious, seamlessly merging the dialogue with the musicality, creating a sense of joyous chaos that mirrors the unpredictable rollercoaster of high school life.
While the movie received mixed reviews from critics, some praising its clever updates and energetic performances while others lamenting deviations from the original, it’s undeniable that “Mean Girls” 2024 has struck a chord with a new generation. The songs have become viral sensations, inspiring countless TikTok covers and singalongs, demonstrating the film’s ability to resonate with contemporary audiences despite its two-decade legacy.
Ultimately, the musical isn’t just a nostalgic throwback; it’s a modern reimagining of a timeless story. It reminds us that the struggles of finding one’s place in the world, navigating cliques and crushes, and grappling with one’s identity are universal, transcending generations and cultural contexts. And through the power of song and dance, it does so with infectious humor, genuine heart, and the unforgettable reminder that, even after all these years, on Wednesdays, we still wear pink.