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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

A guide to sitting through ‘Mean Girls’

Avantika (from left), Angourie Rice, Reneé Rapp and Bebe Wood pose with a camera on the set of “Mean Girls.” The 2024 release is an adaptation of a musical which itself is adapting an earlier film. (Jojo Whilden/Paramount via AP)

“Mean Girls” was a terrible movie … and I loved it.

Now, don’t get me wrong. This is not one of those movies where I like it in spite of all of the abhorrent things wrong with it. 

No, I liked it because of everything wrong with it.

To really understand my feelings though, I need to write a guide to best experience the movie. 

You will walk into your standard suburban theater, tickets prepared, and see crowds of loud high schoolers with bored parents annoyed to waste a Friday night in a theater where the floor is always sticky, there is leftover popcorn in your seat and the staff is young enough to not know that Netflix once gave out DVDs. 

In the theater itself, a spotlight created by an array of cellphones will guide you to your seat, while thought-to-be-hidden whispers of TikTok songs trickle out from random aisles. 

Once you hit your seat, a crew of early teenage besties will come in. You can only imagine the cast of extras came all the way out to DeKalb to see themselves on screen for a brief moment. 

As if wanting everyone to know of their presence – and their conversation – the echoes of high school rumors will float across the room. The previews might seem like they have all had their sound replaced with murmurings of “Did you hear that Jason-” and “I saw this TikTok the other day…” 

Right before the movie starts, the group of friends to your left will probably pull a bottle of wine out of some hidden pocket in one of their coats. Passing around plastic cups fit for water coolers and lemonade stands, these friends will aim to temper the coming experience of horror with one of the few things that could make the film even more awful fun: alcohol. Yes, this actually happened during my viewing.

Now, as for the film itself, you’re going to wish you were drunk.

Each song feels awkward and unearned, killing any tension, joy or any other emotion the film may try to offer. 

Even the first song feels out of place. 

You will be introduced to Cady, a teenage girl living in Africa while her mom studies something there – it’s never explicitly stated. Her mom realizes Cady needs some sort of socialization, so she returns to the States and picks the lovely state of Illinois to make her home. 

When Cady joins high school, as the story goes, she finds that it’s immensely hard to figure out all of the rules that she has to follow and can’t understand how to fit in. 

However, all of this is told through song – and not a particularly good one. 

Cady’s voice is fine, but the song feels cliche, contrived and conventional. It’s the standard “I want” song but told while trying to create a broad cinematic jump from Africa to Illinois – Cady literally walks out of her African tent into the high school. 

This one moment will be a microcosm of the two hours to come. 

You’ll find yourself wanting to laugh at how asinine the musical moments are. Why did Regina George break out in song at the lunch table, you might find yourself asking. Allow yourself the chance to laugh at this horrendously dramatic depiction of high school cliques. 

You might find yourself cackling at the serious points of the movie and immensely bored at the supposedly funny parts. This is a common experience. Be aware of this going into the film. It’s the only way to escape with a part of your soul intact.

Really, the movie itself will be soulless. Most of the performances will be phoned in at best (Sorry Reneé Rapp fans). The only one that will be worth any screen time at all is Jaquel Spivey’s performance as Damian. 

Spivey will rule the screen and will be entrancing. You might find that your eyes float over to him whenever he is on screen. I recommend you let that happen. It will save you from what will happen the rest of the movie. 

Truly, it’s horrible. It compresses the plot of the original film into a single montage where everything happens all at once. The rest of the film is background, singing or the writing trying to be funny (note: it rarely ever is). 

Christopher Briney’s Aaron Samuels captures the high school part of the heartthrob – though none of the romance or appeal that one would want. 

You might leave the movie feeling like it was absolutely horrendous (you’d be right), and you might want your money back (you’d be wrong). 

Instead, if you are willing to sit through it, the right way – with or without a smuggled bottle of wine – is to make fun of the movie. The entire time.

Now, you might feel conflicted about this. The only way to enjoy a movie about not making fun of people is to make fun of it, you might ask. 

Don’t get me wrong. You’re right. It is a conflict. But hey, it’s better than sitting through the movie seriously, I guess.



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