Mean Girls (2004) and Mean Girls (2024) 4K UHDs Review: So Fetch They’re Grool

It is interesting that the book Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boys, and the New Realities of Girl World, by Rosalind Wiseman, has reached a third edition. Tina Fey’s take on the book has also made it to three editions: 2004’s Mean Girls, 2017’s Mean Girls: The Musical, and 2024’s movie version of the musical, also titled Mean Girls

The first version of Mean Girls (2004) is directed by Mark Waters, written by Tina Fey, and produced by Lorne Michaels. Lindsay Lohan plays Cady (pronounced Katie) Heron, who has lived a sheltered life home-schooled in Africa before moving to an American town where she will have her introductory experience with an American high school. 

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Cady’s initial friends are social outcasts Janis (Lizzy Caplin) and Damian (Daniel Franzese) who introduce Cady to the intricate social structure in the school. To be avoided at all costs are the Plastics, a small group of beautiful, rich teenagers who cohere at the same time as being just absolutely repellent to each other. Regina George (Rachel McAdams) is the leader, the Queen Bee, who appears to live by a simple rule – be horrible to everybody. Gretchen Weiners (Lacey Chabert) is the gossip in the group. She doesn’t mean to be, but keeping secrets is hard. Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried) is the dumb one. Simple as that – she’s dumb.

But the Plastics are interested in Cady, and Regina invites her to join the club. It is all copacetic until Cady reveals she has a crush on a senior from her math class, Aaron (Jonathan Bennett), who happens to be Regina’s ex-boyfriend. When she hears about Cady’s infatuation, Regina comes onto Aaron and reels him back in as her boyfriend. Cady is, of course, incensed, and with the advice of Janis and Damian, she decides to stay in the Plastics and cause havoc from the inside. They exchange Regina’s face cream for foot cream and trick her into gaining weight by convincing her the Swedish “diet” bars they are giving her are low calorie. With the help of Gretchen’s secrets, they get Aaron to break up with her. Cady even pretends to be bad at math so Aaron will tutor her. It is a rabbit hole, and Cady has fallen into it deeply.

This house of cards cannot hold. Eventually, the entire school feels put upon and wants their revenge. Faculty and staff have had enough. Tim Meadows is Mr. Duvall, the principal, who cannot keep his eyes off Tina Fey’s character, the math teacher Ms. Norbury. Their screen chemistry is charming, funny, and palpable. Rounding out the adults are Cady’s parents (Neill Flynn and Ana Gasteyer). They are supportive, and loving, and pretty pissed at their daughter’s actions. Amy Poehler Is hilarious as Regina’s mom, an older version of Regina who is one of those moms who asks her child’s high school friends if they want alcohol.

This is a story we have seen a hundred times, but this one still works. In part, there is the stunning performance by a 17-year-old Lindsey Lohan. She is in almost every scene, and is damn funny in all of them. However, the glue behind it all is the script by Tina Fey. It is, somehow, still hilarious from beginning to end after two decades. 

Bonus Features (2004):

  • Commentary by Director Mark Waters, Screenwriter & Actress Tina Fey and Producer Lorne Michaels
  • Mean Girls: Class of ‘04 – the cast of the 2024 version discuss the 2004 version
  • Featurettes – Only the Strong Survive / The Politics of Girl World / Plastic Fashion
  • Word Vomit (Blooper Reel)
  • So Fetch – Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Director Mark Waters and Screenwriter & Actress Tina Fey
  • Interstitials
  • Theatrical Trailer

Mean Girls (2024) was co-directed by Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr. It was written by Tina Fey and produced by Fey and Lorne Michaels. The movie has an interesting pedigree: It is a movie musical based on a musical based on a movie based on a book. One might expect this to lead to some confusion; instead, it has led to a honed piece of modern humor. If you ever needed proof that themes are timeless, here it is. Mean Girls (2024) is not just a rehash of the first film though. The introduction of song and dance necessarily tweaks the plot, the characters, and the jokes. 

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An almost all new cast except for Fey, Meadows, and a cameo by Lindsay Lohan, bring a different flavor to this apparently timeless story. This time around, actors with strong voices were needed. Angourie Rice plays Cady. The Plastics are made up of Renee Rapp, Bebe Wood, and Avantika as Regina, Gretchen, and Karen. Fey smartly creates a neat conceit within the film: Ms. Norbury and Mr. Duvall are married now, meaning that 20 years have actually passed at the high school, but in the universe of Mean Girls the same problems with Queen Bees and Wannabes must keep cropping up again every few years. 

Having seen the first Mean Girls should have no bearing on whether or not you watch the musical version. Both are very funny, very smart, different enough, and oh so grool.

Bonus Features (2024):

  • A New Age of Mean Girl – cast and crew discuss modernizing Mean Girls in the age of social media
  • Song and Dance – cast and crew discuss the choreography
  • The New Plastics – the 2024 cast discuss the 2004 movie
  • Extended Scene – I’m Having a Small Get-Together at My House
  • Gag Reel
  • Not My Fault – Music Video with Renee Rapp and Megan thee Stallion
  • Mean Girls Sing-Along with Select Songs

The bonus features are fun, and the commentary on the 2004 version is interesting and funny. It is time to watch or rewatch these comedic gems.

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Greg Hammond

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