Film
Jacob Mendez
Jacob Mendez

“Mean Girls”: It was supposed to be a hit! An unsuccessful return of a cult comedy

  • Musical “Mean Girls” is an adaptation of the Broadway version of the cult youth film “Mean girls” from 2004.
  • Sixteen-year-old Cady Heron moves with her mother from Kenya to the USA and starts high school. Cady befriends Janis’s outsiders ‘Name’ike and Damian Hubbard, who introduce it to school life. Cady falls in love with Aron, who was previously the boyfriend of Regina, who heads a group called the Plastics. Cady is starting to really enjoy being a popular girl, but is she a well-liked girl?
  • The film can be seen on Polish cinema screens from March 15.

The musical “Mean Girls” is breaking popularity records both on Broadway and London’s West End. Millions loved the story of the conflict between the shy Cady Heron and the popular and (too confident) Regina George, which leads to many funny situations and forces both (anti)heroines and the viewers involved in the film to reflect. This is a story that is really easy to identify with – after all, each of us experienced misunderstanding, exclusion or heartbreak by our significant other in high school.

It was only a matter of time before a film adaptation was made: sponsors were found, an exceptionally good casting was carried out (more on that in a moment), the songs were choreographed and, purely theoretically, the creators had success in their pocket. It was enough to release the film in cinemas and sell it in a sensible way. There is nothing surprising in the fact that in the United States this musical became a real hit.

Finally, the creators also give a wink to the fans of the original, because even the same faces return: on the screen we will see Tina Fey (by the way, she is the author of the musical) and Tim Meadows, who – literally – play the same characters. And in the background there is Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”, “Fargo”) in a strangely comedic role of a rude gym teacher, and Jenna Fisher, known from the American “The Office”. This is a pure calculation: practically nothing was changed in the script, a few musical performances were squeezed in and that was enough to win the hearts of fans. This film is another example of how undemanding modern audiences have become. It seems that they are satisfied with a carbon copy of a film from twenty years ago. It is a monotonous cinema that hides a lack of originality and original solutions under the guise of colorful shots and good fun.

Even great acting, which is the result of skillfully selected actresses, does not help. Cary, interpreted by the charismatic Angourie Rice, becomes an unobvious femme fatale who, under the guise of a Disney princess, hides enormous amounts of envy – as it turns out, it’s better not to fall for her! Stealing the show, however, is the talented Rene√© Rapp, whose brooding presence and Regina’s icy manner rivals, and perhaps even surpasses, original actress Rachel McAdams at times. During the screening, we admire their talent, but this is the only element that actually deserves our recognition.

The message of the film still remains the same, but it is not surprising if even the dialogues (as well as the key characters in the plot) remain the same. “Mean Girls” once again tells the story of high school animosities, stigmatization, unnecessary hierarchies and an attempt to find a common language, but so what if we received all this – sometimes word for word – in 2004.

Throughout the film you get the impression that it could have done without the musical interludes. Not only are they not musically attractive – it is difficult to remember even one song after leaving the cinema, because they all sound more or less the same – but they also do not add any variety to the predictable plot. Such musicals are said to be soulless. In this case, there is a lot of truth in these words.

In fact, the songs seem to be substitutes for dialogues, they also try to diversify the pace of the production itself, but what’s the point if the performances are quite kitsch or don’t sound very perfect (even if it’s a conscious attempt to emphasize the fact that high school years are a litmus test seen from the idealized perspective of a teenager). The visual side doesn’t help either: musical sequences are served (excessively) in slow motion, in which schematic dance is interwoven with colorless lyrics. Boredom, boredom and more boredom.

The new Mean Girls has its moments, but it’s much better to remember the original film, or take a short trip to London to see this musical live. The music is much better there, because the rhythm of the production affects the audience, and the theater turns into an experience that we have a chance to experience together with other fans of the original.

In the cinema, we have to clap not during the songs, but during the end credits. Sometimes gratitude for the film finally ending can be invaluable to viewers.

5/10

“Mean Girls”, dir. Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr., USA 2024, distributor: UIP, cinema premiere: March 15, 2024.