Complete A-Z list

Mean Girls


Stars: Angourie Rice, Renee Rapp, Avantika, Bebe Wood, Auli'i Cravalho, Jaquel Spivey, Christopher Briney, Tina Fey, Busy Philipps, Jenna Fischer, Tim Meadows, Jon Hamm, Lindsay Lohan

Director: Samantha Jayne, Arturo Perez Jr

Actress/comedian/writer Fey has taken her 2003 teen classic and, with the help of collaborators on music and lyrics, turned it into High School Musical.

The girls are not all that mean this time around, just snooty 'alphas' dominated by queen bee-itch Regina (Rapp), who draw brainy, home-schooled new girl Cady (Rice) into their realm, to become one of the 'Plastics'. Smitten with classroom hunk Aaron (Briney), Regina's on/off boyfriend, Cady quickly conforms to the Plastics' habits and Barbie-pink regalia.

Now failing her tests and determined to bring Regina down and claim Aaron for herself, the once wide-eyed Cady, who is really the mean girl here, brings Regina's flawless complexion out in spots and, for no reason I could see, targets pretty well everyone in the school with online untruths.

The dancing is frenetically enthusiastic and Fey reprises her old role as the maths teacher, but the real stars are Rapp, Avantika and Wood, all three sensational as the big-bosomed, in-your-face Plastics, putting leading lady Rice, a touch uneasily cast, in the shade, and excelling in the song-and-dance sequences, with vivacious assists from Carvalho (the voice of Moana in tne Disney cartoon feature) and Spivey as Cady's initial friends.

One of the two of the songs, in a score slimmed down from the Broadway original, are catchy, specially I Get It and I'd Rather Be Me, but elsewhere, in the drama department, the film is as soggy as a damp lettuce, with little of the snap, vibrancy and killer one-liners that lifted the original to iconic status.

David Quinlan

USA 2024. UK Distributor: Paramount. Colour by deluxe.
112 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 1.

Review date: 14 Jan 2024