The highly anticipated film adaptation of the Broadway musical “Mean Girls” hit theaters this weekend, earning strong reviews and box office numbers driven by fan excitement around the return of key cast members from the original 2004 cult classic film. Centered around the top news URLs provided, this in-depth article explores plot details, Easter eggs referencing the first movie, critical reception, and speculation on the future of the franchise.
Musical Numbers Enliven Updated Take On Story of High School Cliques
Bringing the musical version of “Mean Girls” to the big screen offered creator Tina Fey and director Casey Nicholaw the chance to revisit the themes of her original movie through catchy song-and-dance numbers. The plot follows a similar arc of homeschooled teenager Cady Heron attending public high school for the first time and encountering “queen bees” The Plastics, though the satirical tone leans harder into absurdism this time around.
Several musical set pieces stand out from early reviews, including an updated take on the Jingle Bell Rock talent show dance, now set to a hip hop remix likely to inspire TikTok trends. The song “Apex Predator” performs similar functions to “Stars Are Blind” from the first film, establishing Cady’s rising social status in an upbeat montage sequence.
Overall the songs garner positive marks for keeping the energy buoyant, with The Atlantic calling them “infectiously catchy while advancing the plot.” Less unanimous praise is offered for the accompanying choreography, which some critics find chaotic.
Fan Service Abounds With Appearances From Lohan, Seyfried, Bennet
Fey’s script manages to wrap the story up while still finding time for not one but two star-studded cameos during the climax and post-credits scene, rewarding fans of the 2004 cult classic. The first comes courtesy of Lindsay Lohan, whose character Cady Heron appears as an adult in the present day to offer wisdom to her younger self. The older Cady reassures young Cady that the challenges of navigating social status and mean girl bullying ultimately paved the way for authentic friendships.
|Legacy Cast Member
|Wise mentor to her younger self
|School board president
|STILL rocking a Juicy Couture track suit
Audiences also go wild as the film ends to reveal actress Amanda Seyfried reprising her role as airhead Karen Smith, now serving as school board president granting funds for the arts. Other returning supporting players likely to connect with longtime fans are Tim Meadows as Principal Duvall and Amy Poehler still gloriously channeling “cool mom” vibes as Mrs. George.
Rosalind Wiseman Offers Mixed Take As Original “Mean Girl”
While fans may be thrilled to step back into the world of North Shore High School twenty years later, not everyone associated with the original property endorses this 21st century remix. A New York Times interview features rather negative takes from Rosalind Wiseman, the journalist whose self-help book inspired the first movie. She argues this highly satirical update further distorts the measured advice for parents in “Queen Bees and Wannabes” rather than illuminating it.
“I guess they probably think the songs make up for the lack of substance,” Wiseman says. “I appreciate the royalties but another generation is going to miss the point, and use this movie to justify more toxic behavior.”
These comments echo mixed critical reception from professional reviewers, praising the musical numbers and performances while critiquing the lack of thematic evolution. Several suggest Fey struggles to offer meaningful commentary from her 40-something perspective when many current real-world “mean girls” would be influencers, not Heathers.
Ultimately the feel-good intergenerational girl power ending wins over preview audiences, achieving a warm 87% Rotten Tomatoes score. But Wiseman seems unlikely to change her stance, putting her at odds with many fans feeling immense nostalgia.
Newcomers Rice and Rapp Draw Praise Carrying The Story
While seeing Lindsay Lohan on screen as Cady Heron again delights fans, rising star Angourie Rice holds her own in the central role for the majority of runtime as the teen navigating social landmines at North Shore High School. Rice finds nuance playing a character whose intrinsic goodness makes her initially blind to the toxicity of The Plastics. The Guardian praises how she “effectively channels Lohan’s humor and heart.”
As queen bee Regina George, Renee Rapp proves a breakout by leaning into the villain’s over-the-top narcissism like Rachel McAdams before her. Several reviews highlight Rapp absolutely belting the Act Two solo number “Someone Gets Hurt” as a highlight. Yet she tempers Regina’s wounded humanity in quieter scenes focused on her controlling mother. Rapp may lack McAdams’ innate charisma, but brings gorgeous vocals and commits fully to the dark comedy of Regina’s most egregiously selfish moments.
Controversy Over Aging Jokes Prove Some Parts Have Not Aged Well
Modernizing the property with contemporary references comes with the risk of dating poorly in retrospect. Buzzfeed compiled a list of lines receiving backlash as sexist, racist or classist which will likely prove controversial in the coming cultural conversation. The worst offender finds villain Regina mocking a female teacher’s appearance by suggesting she buy concealer in bulk at Costco.
Cheap shots targeting Mrs. Norbury’s presumed economic status also land with a thud. While the Plastics’ cattiness toward less affluent classmates fits their characterization, hearing teachers become the butt of classist jokes promotes the wrong values. Updating problematic material requires insight into WHY attitudes have shifted, which Fey struggles to grasp here. Some critics called these jokes “out of touch,” arguing that despite efforts to keep the movie current for 2024 audiences, some parts already feel dated in the worst way.
Box Office Outlook Strong With Four-Day Weekend Underway
All controversies fade into the background as the box office numbers come in, with “Mean Girls” appearing likely to dominate the extended holiday weekend. Variety reports the musical is easily out-pacing other openers “The Beekeeper” and “The Book of Clarence” after bringing in $26.5 million domestically on opening day alone. With the Monday MLK holiday allowing for a four-day opening stretch, forecasts predict a robust $95-100 million debut week.
It remains to be seen whether “Mean Girls” can maintain traction against the February release of Christopher Nolan’s “Tesla” when heading into its second weekend. But riding high on nostalgia and predominantly positive reviews, this updated take looks poised to delight old and new fans alike while sparking thoughtful conversation on how to responsibly satirize high school bullying in the modern era. Whether a sequel catches fire will likely depend on late-run staying power, but the future looks “grool” for the “Mean Girls” legacy at the moment!
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