The stars of the new, updated Mean Girls
It’s hard to imagine a more perfect comedy than Mean Girls. Over 10 years after the original film came out, a musical iteration hit Broadway, and in 2020, a film adaptation of that version was green-lit.
Now here we are, with the updated, musical-fied version finally in cinemas.
Starring the likes of Reneé Rapp, Angourie Rice and Auli’i Cravalho, the film is quite different from its early noughties predecessor. So, let’s explore those crucial aspects that set it apart, shall we?
(Oh, and there are a quite few spoilers ahead, obviously).
As mentioned, it’s a musical – duh!
The original Mean Girls did not feature original songs (although it did have a killer soundtrack!). Conversely, this 2024 iteration carries over many a song from the stage show, including Stupid With Love, Apex Predator and Revenge Party, to name a few.
Not that you’d have guessed it from the trailer, which low-key buried the fact the new film is a musical to those not already in the know.
Some of the characters’ names have changed
Let’s face it, the original Mean Girls was pretty white. So, to improve upon the first film’s lack of diversity, certain characters’ ethnicities in the new version have been changed.
To reflect this, Janis Ian is now Janis ’Imi’ike (played by Auliʻi Cravalho) and Karen Smith is now Karen Shetty (played by Avantika).
Janis is also canonically queer in this new version
Although Janis’ sexuality was never officially confirmed in the original – aside from those disparaging comments by Regina George – this time it’s made more explicit.
In the 2024 version, Janis is canonically and openly queer, which Cravalho described as “really important” in an interview with Teen Vogue.
“I think it’s really important that we show high school for what it is today, in as many colors, in as many forms, with as much glitter,” she said.
Social media plays a much bigger part in the story
Gone are the four-way calls and the printed out pages from the Burn Book à la Mean Girls 2004. Instead, get ready for TikTok dances and live streams – I guess you gotta keep up with the trends!
Cady doesn’t have a dad
Originally, Cady’s parents were played by SNL’s Ana Gasteyer and Scrubs actor Neil Flynn. Well, in this new version, Cady only has her mum, played by The Office favourite, Jenna Fischer. Overall, Cady’s mum and her past life in Kenya don’t really enter the film as much, which is a shame.
Some ICONIC quotes are missing
No one can deny that the 2004 movie is one of the most quotable films ever made, but certain phrases unfortunately don’t carry over to the new version.
Look out for “you go, Glen Coco”, “on Wednesdays we wear pink” and “you can’t sit with us”, but don’t expect to hear “if you’re from Africa, why are you white?”, “how many of you have ever felt personally victimised by Regina George?” or “Danny DeVito, I love your work”.
And finally, expect much more nuance to the main characters
In the original film, pretty much every main character – Cady, Regina, Gretchen, Janis, Karen, Damien and Aaron – are all fairly two-dimensional. This updated version does a bit of work in fleshing out people’s motivations, hesitations and deeper feelings. which makes something like Cady’s transformation from “homeschooled jungle freak” to mean girl that much more compelling.
There you have it! Mean Girls is in UK cinemas now.