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Cringy, but I liked it

The “Mean Girls” remake has a bad reputation, but a great Rapp.
Cringy, but I liked it
Brennan Seltzer

So, I saw the new “Mean Girls” movie, and… I liked it?

Videos of people making fun of the poor singing, music production, fashion and obvious brand deals in Aruto Perez, Jr. ‘s remake of 2004 classic “Mean Girls” have been trending on everyone’s TikTok “For You” page, including mine.

So when I walked into that theater, I expected to be cringing the entire time, especially as a huge musical nerd.

Instead, I literally cried three times from how good the visuals and vocals were (Reneé Rapp, please marry me.)

I loved most of the casting and the actors’ abilities to embody and expand on the original characters, especially in a musical setting.

Auli’i Cravalho, Jaquel Spivey and Rapp especially brought presence and originality memorable enough to keep audiences drawn in.

Alas, Angourie Rice cast as Cady Heron and Christopher Briney as Aaron Samuels are a whole ‘nother story. 

Briney, best known for his role as Conrad Fisher in the television series “The Summer I Turned Pretty,” seems to have been cast in an attempt to attract a certain audience of teenage girls. I wouldn’t mind if he were a decent singer, but alas, he is not. To his credit, he knew it.

“I think if I worked on it, if someone gave me some coaching, I’d be fine,” Briney said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “The level that the people in this movie are singing at isn’t something you can just pick up. They were born to do that, and I wasn’t born to do that.”

And, well, Briney is right. 

So, they cut all of Aaron’s singing parts. Briney didn’t sing a single note.

On the other hand, Cady, the main character played by Rice, sang a little too much for my liking. 

She was outsung by the rest of the cast (especially in “Revenge Party,” where Jaquel Spivey and Au’ili Cravalo were amazing), and her notes were flat and empty in “Stupid with Love” (something the filmmakers tried to fix by autotuning it into oblivion. It didn’t work). The film cuts “It Roars,” my favorite song from the soundtrack, likely because Rice was unable to sing it.

Similarly underwhelming was the poor song production. Composer Jeff Richmond and lyricist Nell Benjamin returned to the team to rework their songs from the original musical – and ruined them.

Watering down the grand, dramatic Broadway style to underwhelming pop beats and overproduced, auto-tuned vocals may appeal to people who don’t like musicals, but I do like musicals, so I ended up disappointed.

But, despite what I’ve said so far, I liked this movie.

I loved the casting for The Plastics: Rapp as Regina, Bebe Wood as Gretchen and especially Avantika Vandanapu as Karen.

Vandanapu perfectly embodied Karen’s spirit, staying true to both Amanda Seyfried, the original movie Karen, and Kate Rockwell, who played Karen on Broadway.

 I also loved Cravalho as Janis and Spivey as Damien. 

While there was some backlash online about trying to “remake” an iconic movie, the amount of representation in this version alone makes it worthwhile.

One change in plot that I thought was very tasteful (and possibly even better than the original) was Janis’s arc as a queer woman.

In the original film, Regina bullies Janis and spreads rumors that Janis is a lesbian. 

At the end of the movie, Janis reveals that she is actually Lebanese, not a lesbian, and starts dating Kevin, a guy on the Mathletes team.

I have always felt in my heart of hearts that the original Janis should’ve been queer – so when I saw Janis in the new movie take a girl to the Spring Fling dance, I felt acknowledged and seen.

The film also takes advantage of a new medium to pull off costumes that might not work on stage. One of my favorite scenes was during “Someone Gets Hurt,” where Rapp rocks a captivating angel costume with a sleek, silver dress and shiny full-sized wings.

Is it over-the-top? Yes. Is it campy? Yes. Is it worth your time? Also, yes. 

Even though it could never replace the original movie or musical, I would rate the “Mean Girls” 2024 movie a solid 7/10, would watch again.

If you don’t believe me, go see it for yourself.

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About the Contributors
Louise Lawhead
Louise Lawhead, Reporter
Louise Lawhead is a freshman and is starting her first year on Tatler. She is most excited to write articles that challenge societal gender norms and social injustice. Outside of Tatler, Louise spends her free time feeding her coffee addiction, usually with an iced oat milk brown sugar shaken espresso. Her go-to music genre is alternative rock, and if she could never watch the first “Scream” movie again, Louise would retreat to an uninhabited island and live as a hermit. When Louise is not watching classic movies or taking naps, she is obsessing over Rory Culkin. Louise cannot wait for the school year and working on Tatler with everyone!
Brennan Seltzer
Brennan Seltzer, Co Editor-in-Chief
Brennan Seltzer is a senior at St. Mary’s beginning her fourth and final year on the Tatler staff as Co-Editor-in-Chief. She enjoys listening to her favorite band Tennis and thrifting at her favorite spots, Blues City Thrift and City Thrift. Brennan also loves a good pour over from her favorite coffee shop, City and State. If she could have any animal in the world as a pet, she would choose a monkey because they are entertaining. If she’s not listening to music, drinking coffee or thrifting, you can find her watching her favorite show “Psych" or eating breakfast for breakfast, lunch and dinner. One thing about Brennan that not everybody knows is that she is left-handed! She is such a fun and interesting person to be around and she is very passionate about her work. Brennan is excited to see what cool stories everyone writes this year on Tatler!

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