The Student News Site of Bellevue West Senior High School

The Thunderbeat

The Student News Site of Bellevue West Senior High School

The Thunderbeat

The Student News Site of Bellevue West Senior High School

The Thunderbeat

Misleading ad campaign couldn’t save “Mean Girls”

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© 2023 Paramount Pictures

“Mean Girls,” an early 2000’s classic, has been a staple for any high school student with even one dramatic bone in their body. So, naturally, its reboot was targeted towards our most recent generation of high schoolers. However, be it awkward product placement or “slang” filled songs, the 2024 “Mean Girls” adaptation takes the worst of both the musical and movie worlds. It then puts forth a product that will most likely end up as popular as “Mean Girls 2”. 

Before the movie had even been released, it kicked off with an ad campaign that completely misportrayed the movie. Rather than presenting the movie as it is, the advertisement displayed it as simply a reboot rather than the musical, a strange choice considering the movie is meant  to be an adaptation of the stage production rather than the 2003 movie. Those who were familiar with the musical attempted to call these ads out. Meanwhile, TikToks of non-musical fans reacting to the first song began to trend–a trend where they both mock vocals as well as acting.

The way “Mean Girls” was presented confused critics and eager fans alike and was almost an insult to audiences, assuming if they could be tricked into watching the movie they could also be tricked into enjoying it once they arrived. I went into the movie being aware of the nature of the film, as well as being a long term fan of the musical and–trust me–that still didn’t help. With these misleading ad campaigns I can only imagine how those who were expecting a new take on the 2000’s classic felt.

The biggest issue I had with the movie, though, was the casting choices. I am referring to the choice to cast an actress, Angourie Rice, who is not a trained singer to play the lead, Cady Heron. After initially watching the film I assumed I was the only one who was bothered by this but after less than a week of the movie’s release a new trend in which content makers mock the vocal choices Rice made has emerged, specifically the lack of emotion and energy she provides to her performance. 

Despite the main lead providing a lackluster performance, the exact opposite can be said about Reneé Rapp’s portrayal of Regina George. So much so that I would call the new “Mean Girls” a love letter to Reneé Rapp and her wide range of vocal abilities given that she has the two best songs in the movie, “World Burn” and “Someone Gets Hurt.” The gap between Rice and Rapp, who previously played Regina in the stage production, was already pushing a two star review from me. 

The musical choices made for the movie were about as bad as they could have been. As someone who is a huge fan of Rapp’s solo music, while she did carry the movie on her back,  the bad audio mixing and musical direction took away from her impressive vocal range. However, she wasn’t the only victim of this. Avantika Vandanapu, the actress playing Karen, had her vocals completely muffled by badly manufactured autotune. The songs were kept relatively the same as the stage production minus the intense vocal alterations that completely ruined them. Overall, these interesting choices left less than half of the soundtrack without a replayable quality. 

While the new “Mean Girls” movie has its standouts, not all of them are positive. It’s a movie that can be watched if you turn your brain off but, outside of that, the awkward song changes and acting make it just another remake. In the future I look forward to replaying Rapp’s solo music and ignoring the rest of the film in hopes that one day we’ll get a good remake of any film. 

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