The 2004 cult hit Mean Girls is back as a movie musical, with its star Lindsay Lohan given a small role too and just like the original it is fun and hits the mark.
Written by Tina Fey, with music by her husband Jeff Richard, the tale of adolescent angst is based on their stage musical, which opened on Broadway in 2018.
Fey wrote the original film, which was based on Rosalind Wiseman’s 2002 nonfiction book Queen Bees and Wannabees.
In the movie musical, Fey also reprises her role as a teacher.
The story concerns 16-year-old Cady Heron (Angourie Rice), who has been homeschooled in Kenya by her mum (Jenna Fischer).
They move back to the US, where Cady is enrolled in North Shore High.
Academically gifted, she is immediately socially distanced by the other kids.
Coming to her rescue are a couple of outsiders, misfits Janis (Auli’i Cravalho) and Damian (Jaquel Spivey).
They school her on the different cliques, which include the jocks, band freaks, burnouts and theatre nerds.
But the most exclusive group is The Plastics.
It consists of conniving Queen Bee Regina George (Renee Rapp) and her minions Gretchen Wieners (Bebe Wood) and Karen Shetty (Avantika). They have a strict dress code.
Unexpectedly, the over-the-top glamour girls take Cady under their wing and decide to make her over in true Plastic style.
That hits a pothole when Cady takes a shine to Regina’s hunky ex Aaron Samuels (Christopher Briney). Suddenly the gloves are off.
Cady decides to give as good as she gets in what becomes a drag down battle with Regina.
In the process, she distances her only real friends and learns a valuable lesson.
The feature film debut of directors Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr. is an auspicious one.
They have taken a smart and updated script from Fey, reimagined for a new generation, incorporating smart phones and TikTok videos, and nailed it.
Mean Girls circa 2024 is energetic and engaging. The lively score (I really enjoyed the music) is woven effortlessly into the storyline.
Angourie Rice effortlessly works away at nice girl turned tail when newfound popularity strikes her. She makes Cady her own.
I loved Auli’i Cravalho as artsy Janis and Jaquel Spivey as larger than life Damian. They are among the star turns in Mean Girls.
Avantika is a scene stealer, hilarious as the pouting Karen, with Bebe Wood also making her mark as the less than confident Gretchen.
Renee Rapp brings an edge to her portrayal of the manipulative Regina George.
With a hair toss here and another there, Christopher Briney is comfortable in the skin of love interest Aaron Samuels.
Tina Fey is assured and confident as Ms Norbury, while Tim Meadows steps up again (as he did in the first instalment) as Principal Duvall.
Jon Hamm milks the role of sex educator coach Carr.
So, there is much to like and appreciate about the new Mean Girls.
It is a film that clearly recognises its target audience – both those who appreciated the original and Gen Z – and has successfully made a beeline for it.
In short, it is “Fetch”.
Rated PG, Mean Girls scores a 7½ out of 10.