Just went to see Mean Girls (2024) – it's a lively and hilarious musical spin on the 2004 hit, brought to life from the Broadway show. The teens are all about phones and social media in this version, but the core of the story remains the rivalry between high school juniors Cady Heron (played by Angourie Rice) and Regina George (played by Reneé Rapp), mainly because of a boy.
Before I get into the plot further this version of the movie will feel similar to the original with popular lines and moments, however, this version offers a modern twist including viral videos vignettes and a musical aspect that brings the deeper emotions and thoughts of the characters to life. The original movie is fast and witty—and so much goes over kids heads. In the musical movie, however, those big song and dance numbers during pivotal moments provide a few extra beats for the messages to sink in. It helps teens understand and appreciate what the characters are going through allowing for reflection and more dialogue hopefully with you later.
I would love to go see this with a teenager in late middle or high school (13+). I loved the positive message of integrity and remaining true to yourself. The message of "what goes around, comes around" is still there, highlighted by math teacher Ms. Norbury's (played by writer Tina Fey) wisdom that "calling someone stupid doesn't make you any smarter." A great "teachable moment" movie to have important talks with your teens around friendship and character.
The new Mean Girls musical movie does have references to alcohol and sex, plus questionable language—There are plenty of sexual references and innuendos since at the core, this is a teen comedy. It ranges from clueless Coach Carr (played by Jon Hamm) teaching a questionable sexual ed class to rumors that Karen (played by Avantika) has slept with 11 people. There's plenty of kissing, "Mathlete" Kevin's raunchy rap, and references to private parts–but nothing your tween hasn't heard before whether at recess or watching network TV.There's also passionate, over-the-top kissing, plenty of cleavage, a middle finger musical solo, and a couple of numbers with sexy costumes and references.
Language ranges from "a--hole" and "s--t" to "bitch" and "slut" and pops up fairly frequently. Teens indulge in some party scenes with drinks and shots, and there are references to vaping and an inhaler full of vodka. While violence is infrequent and played for humor, there is one potentially shocking moment when Regina gets hit by a bus.
Diversity is a highlight in the 2024 version, with supporting characters Janis (played by Auli'i Cravalho) and Damian (played by Jaquel Spivey) being both queer and people of color, each with their own mini-romances. The student body represents a spectrum of skin colors, sexual identities, body sizes, and more.
Overall, I really enjoyed the movie and could see myself watching it with a teenager and having very interesting conversations. If you have a tween—particularly a daughter—the entire Mean Girls franchise is the best teacher you could ever ask for. It’s a wonderful conversation starter about friendship, cliques, self-discovery, and bullying.
Here are a few conversation starters for after the movie:
1. If you both have seen the original - What scenes stuck out for you that were the same from the original? What stuck out that was changed?
2. Tell me what you thought about Regina George? How about Cady Heron? And any other character you want to discuss. How did adding a musical component change the movie or influence your understanding of the characters?
3. This particular scene ____(fill in the blank)___ stuck out for me because ____(enter in topic you'd like to talk to your teen about)___. What did you think about that part?
4. Was there anything about the movie that you found relatable or resonated with you?
5. What are your thoughts about the social media component to the movie? For example when Regina fell during the talent show or when her mascara ran down her face and videos about it went viral on social media.
Go see the Mean Girls musical movie with your tween or teen. The opening number is called “A Cautionary Tale” which should tell you all you need to know! Enjoy the show with these points in mind and drop me a note of what you thought!
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