Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

Get in Loser, We’re Going to See the New Mean Girls

Posted 02/28/2024 by Alexa Tsvetkov

The famed lead cast of the 2024 Mean Girl movie. photo courtesy of Becky Jiras

Ten years after the original Mean Girls movie came out, the musical version was released on January 12th. 

Early this year, Mean Girls fans became immersed in the girl world once again. Favorite characters ranging from Cady Heron to Regina George and the rest of the Plastic friend group were reintroduced to the screens. Despite minor changes in the movie, it followed the original plotline. The most profound change to the movie was removing the main character, Cady Heron’s, personal narration in the first movie and making it a musical with no single person narration. So far, the reviews have been mixed. Some feel indifferent about the musical addition in the new movie while others seem to like it. In the first week, the box office gained $11.7 million from Mean Girls. However, the Rotten Tomato score is only 71%. Despite the spectrum of opinions, the movie seems to be a success. 

While the new movie stays faithful to the original plotline of Mean Girls, the producers aimed to create a different feel to the movie. Before the movie’s release, producer Lorne Michaels conveyed that “it isn’t a remake, it’s a new interpretation.” As he told Entertainment Weekly in December 2023, “It feels like a familiar enough story, but it’s for today.” This was apparent in the lack of some fan-favorite phrases. Most offensive lines were removed, and viewers felt that it was in an attempt to assimilate to the new societal norms surrounding comments on race, gender, and ethnicity. Additionally, the movie included scenes where TikTok influencers or celebrities would comment on events happening to the characters in the movie. This addition spoke to today’s social media interactions and how modern day Regina George and the Plastics are likely to have big connections online due to their popularity. The jump from 2004 to 2024 was evident: ten years ago, the characters were using flip or house phones, while today, the characters used smartphones. These small shifts show how far both technology and pop culture has come and how each year it is continuing to shift. The core message of the movie stayed similar, though, with one of the ending lines, “calling someone stupid doesn’t make you smarter,” showing that Mean Girls at its core is about being kind and treating people with respect. 

However, there were many fundamental differences in the cast and scenes. For example, when Cady moves from Africa at the beginning of the movie, the audience sees that instead of having two parents, Cady has a single mom. This twist affects the interactions between Cady and her family and includes more ideas of what a modern day family can look like. Newer actresses such as Renee Rapp, Avantika Vandanapu, and Bebe Wood took on leading roles as the Plastics. The whole cast created a new idea of modern day Mean Girls. Each cast member was musically talented and performed dances and songs throughout the movie. There was one surprising crossover in the 2024 version when Lindsay Lohan made an appearance as the host of the famed mathletes competition. Her addition to the screen created a roar online and in theaters. Her iconic performance as Cady in 2004 has left a mark on so many Mean Girl fans and her legacy continues even a decade later. 

While many enjoyed the new Mean Girls, there seems to be a popular opinion that the original movie is unmatched. TJ Senior Ingrid Price felt that “the original Mean Girls is just iconic; the newer one wasn’t bad, it just doesn’t come close to the 2004 version.” Price included that there is a certain nostalgia about the 2004 Mean Girls that holds a special place in many hearts. The musical addition is either a make-or-break for many fans, and for Price, “it is a nice addition but doesn’t threaten what the original Mean Girls had.” The 2024 version seemed to cater to new social standards and younger generations, so opinions vary. There does seem to be a trend of parents that loved the original Mean Girls taking their kids to the theaters to be immersed once again in “girl world” and to share something that they so loved. Regardless of the varied opinions, there is no question that even though the original Mean Girls and the new one are quite different, they both serve to provoke discussions around important messages.