Mean Girls review: Film adaptation of the Broadway musical just isn’t fetch | Films | Entertainment

January 18, 2024
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Third time isn’t a charm for Tina Fey’s barbed comedy. It has been exactly two decades since the original Mean Girls strutted down the corridors of North Shore High School and vowed to make “fetch” happen as a superlative in teen lingo.

Aside from acknowledging the impact of social media since 2004 and deweaponising homophobia in the bubblegum pink Burn Book, which Regina George (Reneé Rapp) and fellow Plastics fill with tittle tattle, the new Mean Girls rests on its academic laurels but only achieves a passing final grade.

A surprise cameo during the Mathletes state championships is glorious but only stokes our nostalgia for the ­groundbreaking original, which joined Heathers and Clueless in the top set of exuberant schoolday celebrations.

Fey’s script cuts and pastes her most quotable lines. Out and proud student Damian Hubbard (the phenomenal Jaquel Spivey) is still “too gay to function” and he is armed with the same zinging one-liner about The Plastics’ queen of gossip, Gretchen Wieners (Bebe Wood): “That’s why her hair is so big, it’s full of secrets!”

Auli‘i Cravalho, better known as the soaring voice of Disney’s ­sea-faring heroine Moana, is another powerhouse as Damian’s partner in crime, who persuades new girl Cady Heron (Angourie Rice) to infiltrate the ranks of The Plastics.

The clique’s pretty poison corrupts Cady and a secret crush on Regina’s old flame (Christopher Briney) strikes the fatal blow to sisterly solidarity.

First-time wife and husband directors Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr energise some musical numbers and let the air out of others.

Inconsistent camerawork can’t dim the brilliance of Rapp though, who reprises Regina from the Broadway stage ­production and is a supernova of slinky seduction. Her formidable queen bee really stings.

MEAN GIRLS IS OUT NOW IN CINEMAS



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