The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


Tina Fey’s “Mean Girls” returns as a musical adaptation

Katie Sullivan (‘25)
(From left to right) Karen Smith, Cady Heron, Regina George and Gretchen Weiners from the new “Mean Girls.”

“Mean Girls,” written by Tina Fey, is known as one of the most iconic high school romantic comedies of this generation. The plot surrounds the protagonist, Cady Heron, a high school student who navigates the complexities of high school cliques after moving from Africa. She befriends two misfits, Janis and Damian, and infiltrates the “popular” clique led by antagonist Regina George. While it came out in 2004, the “Mean Girls” plot has had a powerful impact on media and culture for the past 20 years.

The success of “Mean Girls” led to what most influential pieces have: spin-offs. Most prominently, the Broadway musical version of the hit movie debuted in 2018.

The musical follows the same plot but features a new soundtrack of songs and takes an interesting twist on the comedy. Regardless, in 2020, Fey announced a follow-up to the musical: a film adaptation of the stage musical. Now, it has finally been released and many wonder if the creativity of the original is lost on the film adaptation of the musical.

Firstly, the adaptation has a more diverse and three-dimensional cast than the original. The casting works wonders: Janis being played by Auli’i Cravalho, who gives Janis a new charismatic spunk, and Damien being played by Jaquel Spivey — who knows how to capture an audience’s attention. And even Angourie Rice, who plays Cady, did an outstanding job.

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Yet, no performance in this movie can be compared to Reneé Rapp’s. While the original Regina, played by Rachel McAdams, had a manipulative and powerful personality, Rapp makes herself known as the new queen bee, with rage and charm intensified by her vocals tenfold.

The overall substance of the movie, however, is definitely where it misses the mark. While the actors and the design of the movie are what make it stick, the music in the movie feels very superfluous — which is an issue, especially for a musical movie. The songs of the movie tend to fall flat, often trying too hard to appeal to what they think might be appetizing to the younger generation and thus missing the original charm of the movie and the musical entirely.

The traditional format of musicals allows for leeway, of course, but there is one criterion that simply must be met: Songs in musicals occur when the emotion of the narrative moment is so powerful that it can only be pushed forward by the melody.

Yet, with chances to have compelling musical interludes on par with its musical counterpart, the film adaptation feels less pushed forward by its songs and instead feels like it’s trying to push through them.

Ultimately, the adaptation is not all that bad. It is a fresh take on the classic people know and love while still being true to what made the original have its charm. The characters being brought back in this new way was satisfying to say the least. While the newest adaptation can’t beat the original, the main thing is that it has fun and allows the viewer to do so as well. Beyond the new movie, Cherry Hill High School East’s very own theater department is putting on its own version of the “Mean Girls” musical, and Eastside encourages all students to attend.
As the production has currently just begun, not much can be said about what is to come, but one thing is for certain: It’s going to make “fetch” happen.

(From left to right) Gretchen Weiners, Regina George, Cady Heron and Karen Smith from the original “Mean Girls.”

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About the Contributor
Barbara Armstrong
Barbara Armstrong, Eastside Art Director
Barbara enjoys doing art in her free time, along with reading and watching trash TV. Inside of East, she participates in Ethics, Gardening Club, Art Club, Peer Leaders and many other extracurriculars. During school, you might find her in the art room with friends.

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