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The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

Musical adaptation of “Mean Girls” divides audiences

Mean+Girls+is+a+musical+adaptation+based+on+the+2004+movie+of+the+same+name.+The+songs+are+taken+from+the+Broadway+musical%2C+with+cast+member+Rene%C3%A9+Rapp+reprising+her+role+of+Regina+George.
Courtesy IMDb
“Mean Girls” is a musical adaptation based on the 2004 movie of the same name. The songs are taken from the Broadway musical, with cast member Reneé Rapp reprising her role of Regina George.

“Mean Girls” musical adaptation strikes a chord with fans – Mia Halper

While not every moment of the new musical adaptation of “Mean Girls” is perfection, it doesn’t matter — it’s enthralling and entertaining above all else. The film has something for everyone: nostalgia for fans of the original film, new versions of songs for fans of the musical and quintessential movie fluff for new watchers.

The plot of “Mean Girls” stays very close to the original, and although it incorporates the musical elements, this doesn’t distract from the plot — rather, it expands on it. The reality of “Mean Girls” is that it is a film from a different time, though the writers and directors behind the scenes did their best to modernize it. This modernization does fall flat at times (the TikTok interludes especially), but it serves to drive home the point of the original film.

“Mean Girls” is, at its core, about the relationships between girls. This is most prominent in the iconic gym scene, present in both the original and new adaptation of the film. All of the girls in the school’s junior class are gathered together, and they end up having to confront the realities of the social environment they’ve created. While the exact situation in the film may not be entirely realistic or replicable in our school, it highlights the dangers of cliqueness and gossip, as well as the importance of standing up for one another and not allowing toxicity.

Standout performances included Avantika Vandanapu as Karen Shetty, Auliʻi Cravalho as Janis ‘Imi’ike and Reneé Rapp as Regina George.

Differing opinions have been shared about Vandanapu’s interpretation of Karen; however, I find it to be quite strong. Vandanapu brings well-needed comic relief to some of the movie’s darker moments, and her interpretation of the fan-favorite “Sexy” is entertaining and refreshing.

Cravalho is best known for her role as the titular character in “Moana.” The role of Janis was a large tone switch from this, but Cravalho’s acting was on-point and incorporated the depth necessary for the character. Her performance was especially strong due to her vocal ability. The role of Janis was originated by Barrett Wilbert Weed, who is well known amongst musical theater fans due to her strong performance as Veronica in the original Broadway cast of “Heathers.” Wilbert Weed is an incredibly powerful and skilled vocalist, leaving Cravalho with a lot to live up to. Cravalho delivered beautifully and her songs were some of the movie’s highlights. Janis’ best friend, Damian, was played by Jaquel Spivey. Spivey had a notable performance as well, full of excellent line delivery and strong vocal moments.

Rapp’s impact cannot be understated; she brings a unique charm to the film. From 2019-2020, she starred in the role of Regina George on Broadway. Her vocal talent is evident with her immense performances such as “World Burn,” adding weight and power to the role. There’s a reason Rapp was advertised in trailers as the film’s star — she simply is one.


Musical adaptation of “Mean Girls” loses a lot of its charm – Josh Hananel

For a movie bookended with a fourth wall break in which characters tell you exactly what the themes and morals of the movie are, its creators really get lost in what kind of story they want to tell. “Mean Girls,” a musical and remake of the 20-year-old comedy of the same name, has essentially the same story as the original, with minor differences. However, the allure and creativity of the original is clearly lost.

Any redeemable qualities of this adaptation go to any scene including Ms. Norbury (Tina Fey), Principal Duvall (Tim Meadows), or Damian Hubbard (Jaquel Spivey). Tina Fey and Tim Meadows are the only returning cast from the 2004 film, except for a secret appearance that truly was one of the best parts of this movie. The rest of the performances are either nothing new or just bizarre.

Even if you disregard all the musical scenes in the film, the students of North Shore are even more unrealistic than in the original. The mass reactions of students to things like Cady being a new student, or Regina gaining some weight aren’t that comical, and in the end just contribute to the illogical Hollywood perspective of high schools.

Every insufferable TikTok compilation scene is hard to see as anything other than an out of touch older generation trying to play up to younger people under the guise of a “modern twist.” The movie is trying to be relatable since the audience for this movie are fans of the original, but there is definitely something strange about seeing scenes in a theater where people talk to their phones in portrait mode.

A small issue in the original movie is heightened in this remake: whether or not the student body loves or hates Regina George. After apparently looking up to Regina as a god for years, they turn on her after she falls during a talent show dance and gains some weight. Whether this is supposed to be a critique on teenagers or a plotpoint the movie needed to have, it further alienates the messaging of the movie and is just unrealistic.

Another example of the movie being lost in its own themes and morals is when Principal Duvall announces the Spring Fling Queen nominees and first pronounces Cady’s name right for no apparent reason. It’s not a joke that the audience is meant to laugh at, and it’s treated like a defining moment for Cady along with being nominated for Spring Fling Queen, but she only got to that point because she acted like a “plastic.”

Ultimately, the ending of this movie doesn’t make much logical sense if you either haven’t seen the original and don’t know what to expect, or forget about the way the original film went about achieving their renowned ending. In a broader scope, the film sometimes seems to get lost in what exactly it is critiquing. What I’m left thinking about after leaving the theater is when a Damian biopic that includes more of his French singing will be released.

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About the Contributors
Mia Halper, Senior A&E Editor
Junior Mia Halper is thrilled to be in her third year with the Pitch as Senior A&E Editor. She's an avid fan of the Washington Capitals and plays soccer.
Josh Hananel, Online A&E Editor
Junior Josh Hananel is the Online Arts and Entertainment editor in his third year with the Pitch. Running for the cross country and track teams, he also enjoys writing and movies.
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