Combustible Celluloid Review - Mean Girls (2024), Tina Fey, based on the musical by Tina Fey, Jeff Richmond, Nell Benjamin, and on a screenplay by Tina Fey, Samantha Jayne, Arturo Perez Jr., Angourie Rice, Reneé Rapp, Auli'i Cravalho, Jaquel Spivey, Avantika, Bebe Wood, Christopher Briney, Jenna Fischer, Busy Philipps, Tina Fey, Tim Meadows, Jon Hamm, Ashley Park, Mahi Alam, Connor Ratliff, Brian Altemus
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With: Angourie Rice, Reneé Rapp, Auli'i Cravalho, Jaquel Spivey, Avantika, Bebe Wood, Christopher Briney, Jenna Fischer, Busy Philipps, Tina Fey, Tim Meadows, Jon Hamm, Ashley Park, Mahi Alam, Connor Ratliff, Brian Altemus
Written by: Tina Fey, based on the musical by Tina Fey, Jeff Richmond, Nell Benjamin, and on a screenplay by Tina Fey
Directed by: Samantha Jayne, Arturo Perez Jr.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual material, strong language, and teen drinking
Running Time: 112
Date: 01/12/2024
IMDB

Mean Girls (2024)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

So Fetch

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Tina Fey adapts her own Broadway musical, which was adapted from her own 2004 screenplay, for this musical remake of Mean Girls. Fey also reprises her role as math teacher Ms. Norbury, as does Tim Meadows as Principal Duvall. The story is the same. Cady moves from Africa to the United States and begins high school. There she finds a new breed of "apex predator," known as "The Plastics," a group of popular, beautiful girls who rule the school through cruelty and deviousness, and unexpectedly finds herself becoming one of them.

The new cast — Angourie Rice as Cady, Reneé Rapp as Regina, Avantika as Karen, Bebe Wood as Gretchen, Auli'i Cravalho as Janis, and Jaquel Spivey as Damian — all do an admirable job in making the characters their own. Cravalho especially does a stunning job with her extraordinary voice and dance moves. (Spivey is a great match for her.) And while Amanda Seyfried killed the original role of dumb-as-a-box-of-rocks Karen, Avantika gives it her own take, holding her mouth in an "o"-shape most of the time, but turning it into a little smile whenever something manages to click inside her brain.

But the movie feels both inflated — the songs, with a couple of exceptions, are not particularly memorable — and truncated — many funny bits seem to have been cut to make room for the songs and perhaps to keep the whole thing under two hours. For example, Jon Hamm has been cast as Coach Carr (who gives the awkward sex-ed talks), and is front-and-center in the film's publicity, but only appears in two scenes. Even so, the new Mean Girls has some big laughs, and even though it's not likely to supplant the original as anyone's favorite, it registers as a pleasant "not bad."

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