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The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

From stage to screen: “Mean Girls” makes its fetch return

Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures
“Mean girls” heavily revolves around the “Burn Book,” centered in the middle, which the Plastics use to insult the junior class. Regina (Reneé Rapp), who is also centered, is holding the burn book, suggesting a lot of the drama revolves around her.

“This isn’t your mother’s ‘Mean Girls.’” Those words from the trailer for the new “Mean Girls” movie, based on the Broadway production of the 2004 classic, were very accurate. However, many people claim that this change is not for the better. Despite the criticism, however, directors Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr. did an incredible job bringing the musical and original masterpiece back to the big silver screen with a more modern look. 

When homeschooled teenager Cady Heron (Angourie Rice) moves to Chicago before her junior year, she is nervous about fitting in. That is where the school’s popular antagonists known as “The Plastics”, made up of Regina George, Gretchen Weiners and Karen Shetty (Avantika Vandanapu), come in, letting Heron into their exclusive group. But Heron’s new friends Janis (Auli’i Cravalho) and Damian have issues with “The Plastics” stemming all the way from middle school and consequently convince Heron to join the “The Plastics” and sabotage them. A problem arises when  Heron quickly falls for George’s ex-boyfriend, Aaron Samuels (Christopher Briney), making Heron and George’s relationship strained and boiling over into a social war, wreaking havoc throughout the school and ruining their relationships with those close to them. 

The movie stars Reneé Rapp as Regina George, who played the queen bee on Broadway and helped to make the musical adaptation part of it feel legitimate. Since multiple actors also reprise their legendary roles from the original film, such as Tina Fey (who wrote the original movie) as Ms. Norbury and legendary former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Tim Meadows as Principal Ron Duvall, it is also the perfect film for nostalgia.

The cast of the long-awaited remake has a good mix of legends and newer names. On one hand, Meadows and Fey are nostalgic icons to fans of the old adaptations because many legendary lines came from their characters and are attached to their voices. While not a legend, Briney was a familiar face to many because of his ongoing role as Conrad Fisher in “The Summer I Turned Pretty.” Cravalho also adds a familiar voice to Janis from her role as Moana in the animated classic.

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On the other hand, Vandanapu was not even 19 years old at the time of the movie’s release. She had also never been in a movie of this caliber before. The same goes for Rapp. Casting inexperienced actors as main characters was a gamble, but it turned out to be a smashing success. The actresses had incredible chemistry together and the dialogue between them did not feel forced, despite the understandable nerves that come with playing a role like this for a first big movie.

When comparing this film to the 2018 Broadway adaptation, there are only a few notable differences. Damian’s energetic tap solo “Stop!” is removed along with Cady’s adventurous “It Roars,” which highlights her innocence before attending school. “Whose House is This?” is also removed from the famed party scene at Cady’s home, although the scene is still in the movie. Some parts of songs that made the cut are also removed, such as Karen and Gretchen’s introduction in “Meet The Plastics.”

Many lyrical changes also reflect the social media era. Regina’s line, “I never weigh more than 115” is switched to “That filter you use looks just like me.” These changes do a great job of furthering the characters as people and telling the viewer whether they should like the character.

The differences between the remake and the original are much more glaring. The cutaways of each student talking in the original were replaced by text chains and selfie footage posted to social media. Those who know the original backward and forwards noticed that many iconic lines like “Get in loser, we’re going shopping” were either altered or completely removed. The iconic four-way call scene is not in the new film, and Cady’s dad is gone altogether. A lot of the removals, however, were jokes from the original that could be seen as offensive today.

The main reason critics dislike the adaptation is due to the aforementioned inexperienced cast and the removal of some famous jokes. While it is understandable that people want to hear their favorite lines, those same people want the current feel of the high school environment which includes altering references to be politically correct in a modern society. Therefore, those references were just unfortunate sacrifices that had to be made for this movie to be a reality.

Overall, “Mean Girls” has its ups and downs. The cast is not ideal in terms of star power and some iconic jokes were removed, whether it was for a clear reason or not. However, that is not enough to overcome the fact that the film is a fun and modern adaptation of a legendary classic.

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