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Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

‘Mean Girls’ fails to live up to original film and Broadway musical

Regina%2C+played+by+Rene%C3%A9+Rapp%2C+stands+between+Gretchen%2C+played+by+Bebe+Wood+and+Karen%2C+played+by+Avantika.
Paramount Pictures
Regina, played by Reneé Rapp, stands between Gretchen, played by Bebe Wood and Karen, played by Avantika.

The highly-anticipated movie-musical “Mean Girls” hit theaters on Jan. 12, drawing in both fans of the original 2004 movie and of the Broadway musical; however, while the film was entertaining in many aspects, the film managed to neither to be an impressive adaptation of the original nor the musical.

“Mean Girls” centers around Cady Heron, a girl transferring into an American high school from being homeschooled with her zoologist parents in Africa. She gets welcomed into the popular group in the school, the Plastics, headed by Regina George and her two sidekicks, Karen and Gretchen. When Cady falls for Regina’s ex, Aaron Samuels, an all-out high school war breaks out between Cady and Regina.

This film lacked many aspects that made the 2004 film special. For one, the abandoning of Cady’s inner monologue via voice over messed with the film’s comedic timing, making the comedy feel forced at times.

In an effort to fit in all of the songs from the musical, the movie ended up rushing through all of the scenes that made the original “Mean Girls” iconic. The “Jingle Bell Rock” scene was cut short and boring, there were barely any of the side-splitting sexed scenes and the famed phone call scene was omitted altogether.

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One of the bigger disappointments came with the way the film handled what is arguably the holy grail of “Mean Girls:” the Burn Book — or should I say Burn Binder. In this film, the Burn Book was reduced to a sad three prong filled with printer pages covered in Microsoft clip-art

Another disappointment was the way in which the characters were dressed throughout the film. It would have been nice to see more pink incorporated into the wardrobe, as that is the color that made the original iconic. The lack of mini skirts and crop tops was also a very notable difference from the original.

Now time for the performances. At the end of the day, this movie is a musical, so they need to cast actors that can belt out shows topping songs. Reneé Rapp, who played Regina, and Auli’i Cravalho, who played Janice excelled at this. These two women carried the film.

Rapp’s voice commanded the attention of everyone in the audience the minute she opened her mouth, and Cravalho’s enthusiastic performance mixed with her mesmerizing voice was one thing that made the film worth watching.

Chris Briney’s Aaron Samuels was also a delight to watch, as “The Summer I Turned Pretty” actor possessed the perfect cool-guy attitude that Jonathan Bennett had in the original film.

However, Angourie Rice, who played Cady, lacked energy in her acting and wasn’t a strong singer, which was odd since she was the lead in the film. As for the others, Bebe Wood’s performance as Gretchen felt forced, like she was trying too hard to mimic Lacey Chabert’s original performance in 2004, and Avantika Vandanapu performed fine, excelling in her musical number “Sexy,” but often Karen felt too dumbed down from her 2004 counterpart.

The songs themselves proved to be quite the spectacle, though. “Revenge Party” and “Apex Predator” were my personal favorites, with “World Burn” deserving of an honorable mention. The set and lighting design that accompanied them was absolutely stunning, proving to be one of the highlights of the film.

The film was stronger in its second half rather than its first, with the best part of the film happening in a surprise cameo near the end. One of the original “Mean Girls” actors appeared in an unexpected scene, providing a nostalgic twist for audiences. Tina Fey and Tim Meadows also returned in their respective roles.

Overall, the film proved to be entertaining, but it did not live up to its source material. It struggled to juggle the specialness of both the musical and the original film, delivering a product that came off lackluster. But it did provide a nice dose of nostalgia and catchy songs that will stick with you even after the credits roll.

“Mean Girls” is available to watch in theaters now.

 

 

 

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