(directors: Samantha Jayne, Arturo Perez Jr.; screenwriters: Tina Fey; cinematographer: Bill Kirstein; editor: Andrew Marcus; music: Jeff Richmond; cast: Tina Fey (Ms. Norbury), Tim Meadows (Principal Duvall), Angourie Rice (Cady), Rene√© Rapp (Regina George), Avantika (Karen Shetty), Bebe Wood (Gretchen Wieners), Auli’i Cravalho (Janis Sarkisian), Jaquel Spivey (Damian Nubbard), Christopher Briney (Aaron Samuels), Jenna Fischer (Ms. Heron), Busy Philipps (Mrs. George), Ashley Park (Madame Park), John Hamm (Coach Carr); Runtime: 112; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Tina Fey, Lorne Michaels; Paramount Pictures; 2024)

“The remake was bearable but unneeded.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The inexperienced first time feature film co-directors Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr. remake of the 2004 Mean Girls is a witless comedy about mean-spirited and cliquish high school girls seeking status among their peers. It comes across as schlock.

A music format is put in place for the new version that lands with a clanking sound, as the songs are mostly forgettable (except for — “World Burn” and “Sexy”). On a more positive note, Tina Fey still writes the script and keeps her role as the math teacher Ms. Norbury, while Tim Meadows still plays Principal Duvall.

The padded and unfulfilling film follows the Broadway musical of 2018 (also written by Fey) that was based on the 2004 film, that was based on the 2002 book on parenting by Rosalind Wiseman.

The home-schooled, attractive, nerdy, sweetie-pie Cady (Angourie Rice), playing Lindsay Lohan’s role in the original, returns from Kenya to the States and attends North Shore High School. She attracts the attention of both the feared and admired head of the campus’s top-rated Plastics clique, Regina (Renee Rapp, singer & actress), and her two flunkies, Karen (Avantika) and Gretchen (Bebe Wood). They heavily recruit her to join.

On campus, Cady befriends the cool outcasts Janis (Auli’i Cravalho) and Damian (Jaquel Spivey), the story’s narrators, who urge her to join so she can relay the clique’s secrets to them. She joins, but has started a harmless romance with the school’s heartthrob, Aaron (Christopher Briney)– Regina’s ex-boyfriend. This disturbs the Queen Bee, and a strained vengeful story ensues over the jealousy Regina has for Cady.

When Avantika croons “Sexy” things, the film’s best song, things heat up for awhile. But the fire goes out when the  story loses its oxygen. What the film tries to say about empowered privileged teens ts unconvincing.

Those most into it probably were fans of SNL.

The remake was bearable but unneeded.