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The new Mean Girls movie musical lives up to the impossible standards of the first

The new Mean Girls movie musical lives up to the impossible standards of the first

Mean Girls 2024 Movie Musical
Paramount Pictures

Reneé Rapp, Auli'i Cravalho, and Jaquel Spivey inject new energy into the instant queer classic.

It’s a Mean Girls for a new generation.

The Mean Girls movie musical just came out in theaters, and many are wondering if it could possibly live up to the iconic original. I’m here to tell you: it does!

The new version of Mean Girls is based on the Broadway musical that was in turn based on the original 2004 film, but it's been adapted to movie audiences. Gone are the big, over-the-top showtunes, replaced with more modern-sounding pop mixes of the songs. While these pop arrangements might take some getting used to, they mostly stand on their own and create new and exciting versions of the songs that Broadway fans will know and love. Some are even plainly terrific.

This is especially true because of the incredibly talented cast of queer actors, Reneé Rapp, Auli’i Cravalho, and Jaquel Spivey, who play Regina George, Janis, and Damien respectively.

Of course, these three actors had HUGE shoes to fill. The original roles that they’re stepping into are iconic and changed pop culture. Still, the three of them make their own creations with these beloved characters.

First there’s Rapp. As the iconic Queen Bee herself, she has undeniable star power. Her version of Regina is dripping in sexuality, whether she’s interacting with boys or girls. The moment that Cady first sees her can only be described as gay panic.

She’s a star, there’s no denying it. She has so much charisma and talent that every single person in the movie and watching the movie is in love with her. Rapp should catapult to the A-List with this role.

While it’s maybe impossible to outdo the original Regina, Rachel McAdams, one way Rapp succeeds is comedically. There were many times where I found myself laughing more at Rapp’s version of the character than McAdams’.

While many queer members of Gen Z went into the movie in love with Rapp, a huge number will also leave with crushes on Cravalho.

Honestly, the one way that 2024 Mean Girls clearly outshines the 2004 original is the character of Janis. When played by Cravalho, she becomes the canonically queer icon she was always meant to be.

Having Janis come out while in middle school also helps to update the story in the best way. Gay guy/gay girl high school friendships are such an underrated, but real, friendship dynamic that is becoming even more popular as more and more young people are coming out.

While Damien was always loudly and proudly gay, now Janis is too.

There’s also a new version of Regina and Janis’ backstory and falling out that is honestly beyond perfect and makes the entire movie better. I don’t want to spoil it, so I won’t say too much.

Overall, the new Mean Girls is a perfect adaptation and update for today’s young people. It’s engaging, it’s bright, it’s youthful, and you can tell how much fun the cast was having while filming it.

It also fully knows how unserious many of the scenes are. Instead of putting on their actor faces and getting their jobs done, the new cast has a blast and lets loose. It’s a perfect fit.

Mean Girls is currently playing in theaters.

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Mey Rude

Mey Rude is a journalist and cultural critic who has been covering queer news for a decade. The transgender, Latina lesbian lives in Los Angeles with her fiancée.

Mey Rude is a journalist and cultural critic who has been covering queer news for a decade. The transgender, Latina lesbian lives in Los Angeles with her fiancée.