To preface, I am a former theater kid and have been a diehard Reneé Rapp (she/her) fan since 2018. That feels important to know about me going into this.
This new Mean Girls movie is not an adaptation of the original 2004 movie, it is an adaptation of the stage musical that debuted on Broadway in 2018. So, it’s an adaptation of a Broadway adaptation of a movie that was originally inspired by a book about high school.
Knowing all this, the Mean Girls movie was just about everything I expected it to be. I had seen the clips on TikTok and heard the comparisons made between the Broadway cast recording and the movie’s soundtrack; I knew what I was walking into.
Their first mistake was putting Angourie Rice (she/her), who played Cady Heron, opposite of the Broadway powerhouse that is Reneé Rapp as Regina George. To be clear, Rice’s portrayal of Cady reads perfectly, but when it comes to singing, it falls flat compared to her castmates.
Rapp carries the soundtrack on her back with “Meet The Plastics”, “Someone Gets Hurt”, and “World Burn”. The power of these songs and Rapp’s incredible ability to belt emphasizes Regina’s dominance in a way that Rapp struggled to do with acting alone.
Janis, played by Auli’i Cravahlo (she/her), and Damien, played by Jaquel Spivey (he/him), were right there to back up Rapp’s vocals with their incredible “Apex Predator”. So was Karen Smith, played by Avantika Vandanapu (she/her) with her song “Sexy”.
Gretchen Wieners, portrayed by Bebe Wood (she/her) held her own with her acting, which was true to the character. Unfortunately Wood doesn’t get to display her vocals with “What’s Wrong With Me”, a song that wasn’t good, even in the original musical.
Who am I forgetting? That’s right Aaron Samuels, played by Christopher Barney (he/him). There isn’t much to say, he doesn’t sing, he doesn’t even really act, he just seems like he is there to look pretty, but is entirely forgettable.
The movie is good, and I genuinely did enjoy most of it. Yes, I cringed when Cady suddenly is being filmed by a phone or GoPro or something during “Revenge Party”, but overall the movie is a loyal adaptation of the Broadway musical.