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I watched the Mean Girls remake as a millennial and this is my take on the Gen Z reboot

I saw the Mean Girls remake starring Reneé Rapp before everyone else. Here's what I thought  

Mean Girls 2024 poster
Melanie Macleod
Wellness Editor
10 January 2024
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When I heard there was a Mean Girls remake in the works, I couldn't understand why. The 2004 original was perfection and I dismissed the idea of even going to see it. Especially when I heard it was a musical. But yesterday I was invited to be among the first people to see the 2024 version of the film so I decided to give it a chance, and I finally understand why they decided to try and recreate the Mean Girls magic. I have two words for you. Reneé Rapp. 

The 24-year-old, who originally played Regina George in the Mean Girls stage show, is sensational. I thought nobody could get better than Rachel McAdams, but Renee absolutely nails the role of the villain who you end up feeling sorry for. Her musical numbers even turned me from a nay-sayer to someone who left the cinema singing the lyrics to 'World Burn'.

New girl crush aside, how does the ultimate millennial film translate into a Gen Z world? Let's discuss.

Renee Rapp in front of lockers© Getty
Renee Rapp plays Regina George

Did they make the new Mean Girls woke?

I was 14 when the original Mean Girls came out, and 2004 was pretty much the height of toxic diet culture, with magazine covers circling cellulite and headlines screaming about who was too big and who was too thin. So Lindsay's Lohan's Cady feeding Regina George protein bars to make her gain weight seemed like the ultimate evil act to 14-year-old me.

Now that we live in a kinder world where it's not acceptable to tear women apart in the media (at least not explicitly) and we're well aware of fat phobia and the problems that come with it, and with body positivity front and centre, I wondered if Mean Girls would cut the scenes which saw Regina meltdown about gaining weight, in favour of a more woke storyline.

They didn't. Leaving in a plotline that so intensely reiterates the belief that being fat is bad when we work so hard to dispel this narrative, was an interesting choice. But perhaps the filmmakers didn't want to be accused of pandering to the "woke brigade" – and it is an iconic scene, after all.

One notable change they did make was swapping the iconic Burn Book line from "Regina George is a fugly slut," to "fugly cow," - because we don't slut shame in 2024!

Mean Girls the plastics
Mean Girls has been changed to suit 2024

Social media in Mean Girls

In 2004, social media was scarcely a thing – I think maybe the first camera phone was out, but nobody I knew had one and they certainly didn't use them in Mean Girls. In fact, Regina, Cady, Karen and Gretchen spoke on landlines in the original.

I was worried about how much social media they'd add to the Mean Girls remake to bring it up to date, but it was done excellently and didn't feel too intrusive.

DISCOVER: Mean Girls: where are the cast now?

There were a few moments where the characters were vlogging and making TikToks, and the Plastics' legendary Christmas dance was filmed and uploaded to social media to make it spread around the school in ways it didn't in 2004, but mostly the filmmakers kept social media to a minimum, which I think was a clever idea. Heavily including TikTok or Instagram, or making any of the characters influencers could have taken over the plot.

The new Mean Girls poster
The new Mean Girls is a musical

Renee's Regina easily could have been a social media influencer, but keeping her as a normal school pupil worked perfectly.

One change I did chuckle at was their Burn Book. The collage-style creation notoriously had photos pasted in, but now that our photos live on our phones, the film had to address why the high schoolers had printed out pics not seen since the early 2000s.

They explain it away easily, with Gretchen noting: "Remember when they took away our phones for a week and we all had these photos?" Clever.

LOOK: Lindsay Lohan looks 'so fetch' in cut-out gown on Mean Girls pink carpet after welcoming first child 

The Mean Girls remake cast

Don't get me wrong, I will forever love Lindsay Lohan and co. as the Plastics, but the casting in the 2024 remake is more realistic – the girls actually look like high schoolers. Cady, Karen and Gretchen in particular look the age they're supposed to be.

Angourie Rice and Lindsay Lohan at the Mean Girls premiere© Getty
Angourie Rice and Lindsay Lohan both play Cady Heron

A special shout out to Auliʻi Cravalho, who plays Janis, because her songs are the best and she nails a warmer take on Cady's edgy friend, who feels more relatable than the first iteration.

Busy Philipps was also incredible as Regina's mum, and the reappearance of Tina Fey and Time Meadows was a delight. Keep and eye out for Lindsay Lohan too – no spoilers here, promise!

The Plastics in 2024 Mean Girls© Instagram
The Plastics are believable as teens

The Mean Girls remake: my verdict

Despite not being interested in seeing the remake of a film that shaped my younger years, and being put off by the musical element, the 2024 Mean Girls won me over. It didn't stray too far from the original, meaning it appealed to my nostalgia-loving self, but the updates they did make worked, and weren't too intrusive.

They had a fine line to tread in making the film 2024-friendly, without annoying diehard Mean Girls lovers – and they nailed it.

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