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Reneé Rapp Slays As Regina George In Otherwise Charmless Remake

From her very first entrance, it’s clear that Reneé Rapp is the star of the show. She has a feral energy that brings something different to the role. She easily lives up to Rachel McAdams’ iconic performance in the original film, bringing to this Regina a fantastic set of pipes and a sense of humor that makes her likable in spite of everything. Her songs are some of the best parts of the film and help the 2024 “Mean Girls” establish an identity as its own thing. Karen (Avantika) and Gretchen (Bebe Wood) both get their moments to shine as well, bringing effervescent energy to their roles as co-dependent sidekicks whom you can’t help but become attached to. For Aaron Samuels, the production could do much worse than Christopher Briney, the floppy-haired It Boy of the 2020s (into every generation one is born), even though it’s hard to believe that he and Angourie Rice ever made it through a chemistry read. Janis is also a lot of fun and comes across as less mean-spirited than her 2004 counterpart — she even gets one of the film’s best songs (would you expect anything less from the girl who got her big break playing Moana?)

The biggest weakness of the “Mean Girls” remake, I regret to say, is the massive gaping void at its center: Cady Heron. Whether the musical version of the character is just too thinly written or if Rice is merely overshadowed by the bigger personalities of her co-stars, it’s difficult to say. But this interpretation of Cady has absolutely zero presence. Her songs are all thin, reedy, and overly earnest, which is where “Mean Girls” has the biggest tendency to fall flat. Rice does her best, but it makes you appreciate what a unique quality Lindsay Lohan had as a teen actress.

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