Mean Girls (2024) UHD Review

3.5 Stars Same old story with songs and dances added.
Mean Girls Musical Review

In Mean Girls (2024), this new musical version adds tunes and Terpsichore with indifferent results.

Mean Girls (2024)
Released: 12 Jan 2024
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 112 min
Director: Samantha Jayne, Arturo Perez Jr.
Genre: Comedy, Musical
Cast: Angourie Rice, Reneé Rapp, Auli'i Cravalho
Writer(s): Tina Fey, Rosalind Wiseman
Plot: Cady Heron is a hit with the Plastics, an A-list girl clique at her new school. But everything changes when she makes the mistake of falling for Aaron Samuels, the ex-boyfriend of alpha Plastic Regina George.
IMDB rating: 5.7
MetaScore: N/A

Disc Information
Studio: Paramount
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 2160p HEVC w/HDR
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Audio: Dolby Atmos, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Other
Rating: PG-13
Run Time: 1 Hr. 52 Min.
Package Includes: UHD
Case Type: keep case in a slipcover
Disc Type: UHD
Region: All
Release Date: 04/30/2024
MSRP: $35.99

The Production: 3/5

Yes, the 2024 film of Mean Girls is a musical, not that you’d ever suspect it from its trailers or its publicity. It’s the film version of the 2017 Broadway musical adaptation of the original 2004 film. Both films and the stage musical were written by Tina Fey who updated her screenplay for the stage and added music by her husband Jeff Richmond and lyrics by Nell Benjamin though the musical component was reduced substantially to bring the runtime for the film below two hours. It was a good decision: the music for the most part isn’t particularly memorable, and the dancing, though frenetic and often overdone to be point of irritation, adds mere busyness to an already overcrowded scenario.

Fresh from her sheltered life in Kenya, math whiz Cady Heron (Angourie Rice) is welcomed at North Shore High School into the elite group of popular girls called The Plastics, ruled by the bitchy, overwhelmingly judgmental Regina George (Reneé Rapp) and her shadow minions: hungry-for-acceptance Gretchen (Bebe Wood) and the airheaded Karen (Avantika). However, when Cady makes the mistake of falling for Regina’s ex-boyfriend Aaron Samuels (Christopher Briney), she finds herself the target of Regina’s revenge. Humiliated, Cady determines to take down queen bee Regina with the help of her outcast friends Janis (Auli’i Cravalho) and Damian (Jaquel Spivey), but she unfortunately falls victim to her own growing influence and popularity enjoying the lofty perch Regina once occupied and thus necessitating her own downfall.

Tina Fey’s astute observations of the hellish existence of modern-day high schoolers reeks of satirical overload turning views of campus life into a fierce reality show where personalities seem influenced by the latest villainous exploits from The Real Housewives, Jersey Shore, and The Kardashians. There is hardly anyone in sight to admire for their kindness, their school spirit, their athletic prowess, or their educational exploits (we get just a drop of the latter in the climactic counterpoint between the Spring Fling and the Math-a-lete competition); instead, admiration seems to be almost solely determined by looks, acquisitions, and the ability to diss witheringly, reveling in putting people down as a means of building up your own credibility. Jeff Richmond and Nell Benjamin have cut about half of their Broadway score while adding a couple of new songs to the mix to replace the excised numbers. Each of the leading ladies gets tunes to establish her personality: Regina gets three: “Meet the Plastics,” “Someone Gets Hurt,” and “World Burn,” while the anxious Gretchen gets “What’s Wrong with Me?” and vacant Karen sings “Sexy” (done rather cleverly in TikTok style to reflect today’s undeniable effusion of social media). Good girl Cady’s songs reflect her altering set of values as she falls victim to her own sense of power: the innocence of “What Ifs,” the thrill of infatuation with “Stupid with Love,” her out of control resentment with “Revenge Party” (by far the catchiest tune of the bunch and the best extended staging of a number by first time directors Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr. complete with confetti cannons and appropriate dancing for the number), and her ultimate rehabilitation in the climactic “I See Stars.” The choreography by Kyle Hanagami generally is overly busy and cartoonish with the entire student body seemingly dancing whenever they’re outside, swirling around the principals without actually interacting with them.

While none of the actors playing students remotely suggest children of high school age, their performing skills can’t be denied. Good girl Angourie Rice and mean girl Reneé Rapp (who had played the role of Regina on Broadway for a time) navigate the emotions and machinations of the principal roles quite well. Likewise, Bebe Wood and Avantika hit all the beats of their pitiful Plastics personas. But it’s Auli’i Cravalho as the sensitive, knowing artist Janis ‘Imi’ike who captures the soul of the narrative. Her dynamic “I’d Rather Be Me” is the movie’s best solo moment, and her duetting with Jaquel Spivey as fellow outcast Damian Hubbard gets the film off to a provocative start with “A Cautionary Tale” and later tell it like it is in their condemnation of the Plastics in “Apex Predator.” Christopher Briney as the object of lust for the two leading ladies offers only a limited appeal. He does no singing (all of his character’s songs from Broadway were dropped as the actor doesn’t sing) and has a thinly attractive air about him. As the adults involved in the story, Tina Fey as sharp math teacher Ms. Norbury and Tim Meadows as dim-witted principal Mr. Duvall do what’s required of them while Jenna Fischer as Cady’s mom and Busy Phillips as Regina’s mother make somewhat better impressions with their brief on-screen time. Jon Hamm, Megan Thee Stallion, and Lindsay Lohan (a nod to the original movie) pop up in negligible cameos.

Video: 5/5

3D Rating: NA

The film’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.39:1 is faithfully rendered in a 2160p transfer using the HEVC codec. Sharpness and detail are beautifully delivered in this ultra high definition presentation, aided by Dolby Vision which enhances some of the black levels of night scenes and brings out specular highlights during glitter cannon explosions. Colors are beautifully rich and accurate throughout with very pleasing flesh tones. The movie has been divided into 14 chapters.

Audio: 5/5

The Dolby Atmos sound presentation makes exquisite use of the entire soundstage. Though most voices are channeled into the center, there are occasional vocal accompaniments in the fronts and rears, and the expanded orchestrations have real heft, aided by some delicious deep bass at certain climactic moments.

Special Features: 3.5/5

A New Age of Mean Girl (5:47, HD): writer Tina Fey, directors Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr., producer Lorne Michaels, and actors Angourie Rice, Reneé Rapp, Auli’i Cravalho, Jaquel Spivey, Avantika, Bebe Wood, Christopher Briney, Jenna Fischer, and Ashley Park discuss the making of the film, their roles in this new version, and the updates in technology that the film embraces.

Song and Dance (11:38, HD): the directors, cast, choreographer Kyle Hanagami, and composer Jeff Richmond discuss the musical elements of this new version of the story showing rehearsals and shooting of half a dozen numbers and discussing their favorite musical moments in the film.

The New Plastics (8:13, HD): clips from the original Mean Girls film are placed side-by-side showing the original and new interpretations of the four leading characters with the actors explaining their approach to their personas. There are also shots of the original Janis and Damian alongside the musical’s interpretation of those characters.

Extended Scene (1:18, HD): a bit of extra footage revolving around the house party Cady throws.

Gag Reel (3:46, HD)

“Not My Fault” (2:53, HD) music video version of the song featuring Reneé Rapp and Megan Thee Stallion.

Sing-Along Version: this menu item allows you to watch the entire movie in sing-along mode or to simply play a montage of fourteen musical numbers with sing-along lyrics provided (45:15, UHD/Dolby Vision).

Overall: 3.5/5

Hyperbolic song and dance and some updated allusions to social media threaded throughout the story haven’t really added anything much of relevance to Tina Fey’s Mean Girls. It’s still the same story of the teenage thirst for popularity and the price one might pay for achieving it at the expense of others. The UHD disc release features astoundingly colorful and sonic visual and aural delights that fans of the property will undoubtedly want to add to their collections, but this isn’t a musical for the ages.

Matt has been reviewing films and television professionally since 1974 and has been a member of Home Theater Forum’s reviewing staff since 2007, his reviews now numbering close to three thousand. During those years, he has also been a junior and senior high school English teacher earning numerous entries into Who’s Who Among America’s Educators and spent many years treading the community theater boards as an actor in everything from Agatha Christie mysteries to Stephen Sondheim musicals.

Post Disclaimer

Some of our content may contain marketing links, which means we will receive a commission for purchases made via those links. In our editorial content, these affiliate links appear automatically, and our editorial teams are not influenced by our affiliate partnerships. We work with several providers (currently Skimlinks and Amazon) to manage our affiliate relationships. You can find out more about their services by visiting their sites.

Share this post:

Most Popular
Available for Amazon Prime