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‘Watch the original’: ‘Mean Girls’ musical hits theaters

Kayla Gleason
A poster for “Mean Girls” hangs inside the MovieScoops Kent Plaza Cinemas on Feb. 2, 2024.

Cady and the Plastics hit the big screen once again, with a twist: song and dance. And students had mixed opinions on the new adaptation.

The plot of the movie-musical “Mean Girls,” which made $28 million during its opening weekend according to NBC, follows a high schooler named Cady, played by Angourie Rice, who becomes a member of a group of popular girls known as “the Plastics.” 

Originally, she joined the group to sabotage the head mean girl, Regina George, who is played by Reneé Rapp, who played the same role in the Broadway production.

During the film, Cady Heron starts to become mean herself, while falling for Regina’s ex-boyfriend Aaron Samuels, which sets up one of many conflicts in the film. 

The original version of the movie, which was directed by Tina Fey, released in 2004. The musical was composed by Jeff Richmond, a Kent State alumnus and Fey’s husband, and it debuted on Broadway in 2018, according to Playbill.

“A lot of people didn’t know it was a musical, and they were really disappointed by all the songs and everything,” said Miranda Rush, a senior nursing major. “I thought it made a pretty good laugh.”

Rush said she thought there were too many songs included. She said if not for the music, the film would have been a poor remake of the original. She gave the movie a rating of three stars out of five.

“It was a good musical,” she said. “There were a couple instances where it would go from song to song.”

Junior hospitality and event management major MaKayla Edmond said she was disappointed with the film’s music numbers, but she still enjoyed the film.

“They took songs that were originally written for a Broadway production and basically tune them down for the movie, and I think they just didn’t do it right,” said Edmond, who saw the original and new version of the movie. “Movie musicals have been done in the past where the songs are still as expressive as they are in the musical, but I feel like this one didn’t achieve the right type of music to make it as great as the musical was. Lots of the songs just felt like they weren’t achieving the potential they could have.”

Despite believing it to be inferior to its predecessors, Edmond said the movie did achieve its goal of revamping the franchise.

“I feel like it was made for basically trying to introduce younger generations to the franchise,” she said. “I felt like the cinematography and the music and how they changed some of the music and the clothing directed more towards the younger generations.”

Edmond said she enjoys how the character Regina was written for the new film as opposed to the original, and she said the new movie is much more diverse than its predecessor. The musical movie is “notably more diverse” than its original, according to Abbey Stone from the pop culture blog PopSugar.

“She still was a mean girl, but not necessarily a mean girl that you hate to the core kind,” Edmond said. “The original movie was just not very diverse but this cast is very diverse in casting and just personality.”

For Abby Prusha, a sophomore psychology major, the music and fashion was lacking.

“The costuming looked like it was all bought from Shein, and the music was kind of bad,” she said. “I think they dumbed it down for lack of a better term.”

Prusha said the movie’s modernization made the film lose its original meaning.

“I think the main point of the original movie was to show how people want to have a sense of community and are willing to find that in whatever way,” she said. “Even though you know what you’re doing is wrong, you want this sense of community and popularity, even if it means going against your morals.”

Prusha said she does not recommend the film, giving it three and a half out of five stars.

“I’d rather recommend someone watch the original ‘Mean Girls’ movie,” she said. “Look up the musical off of Broadway and then just skip this movie musical.”

Edmond also gave the movie three and a half out of five stars and said she would recommend the movie to others under one condition.

“Watch the original first,” Edmond said. ”I would still say that you should watch the new one.”

The movie, rated PG-13, is screening at Kent Plaza Cinemas at 140 Cherry St.

Michael Neenan is a beat reporter. Contact him at [email protected]

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About the Contributors
Michael Neenan, General Assignment Reporter
Michael is a senior journalism major with a public relations minor. He works as a reporter, covering topics from sports to university administration. Contact him at [email protected]
Kayla Gleason, Reporter
Kayla is a sophomore journalism major. She enjoys writing about the current events happening around campus.
Contact her at [email protected]

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