The 2024 Mean Girls movie follows the plot and cast from the original movie but includes several mentions of current pop culture and social media references to fit in with the new generation of teens watching the film. The film brought back the beloved teacher and main mentor, Ms. Norbury (Tina Fey), who is also the film’s producer, along with the sarcastically unaware Principal Duvall (Tim Meadows). The two actors took on their original roles from the 2004 movie.
As for the rest of the cast, the movie introduces a fresh set of young actors. The good-girl protagonist Cady Herron (Angourie Rice) transfers to North Shore High School in America after being home-schooled in Kenya throughout her childhood with her academic research-driven mother (Jenna Fischer). Heartthrob football player Aaron Samuels (Christopher Briney) remains the problematic boy toy for the protagonist and antagonist. The two art nerds, Janis (Auli’I Cravalho) and Damian (Jaquel Spivey)—who befriend the main character early in the story and navigate through a series of common high school debacles revolving around popularity, social status, and academic pressure—also narrate the story from an outcasted perspective, ridiculing the mean girls and the school environment that worships them. The famous mean girl trio includes out-spoken Gretchen Wieners (Bebe Wood), dim-witted Karen Shetty (Avantika Vandanapu), and the unreachable Regina George (Reneé Rapp) as the leader.
Although the 2024 Mean Girls remains true to the original storyline and plot as performed in the 2004 film and 2017 musical, there are notable differences besides the new cast. The musical numbers and overall amount of singing in the movie are what separate it the most from the original film, which did not include any musicality. The movie showcases 13 tracks that help narrate the story and add a new touch of personal singing performances from the cast, including “Meet the Plastics,” “Stupid With Love,” and “Not My Fault,” all of which are trending across social media and television networks. Adding a musical spin to the movie essentially combines the previous two Mean Girls works; a re-enactment of the two pieces to make an original new one.
The movie does a particularly excellent job of emphasizing the influence of social media and online pop culture that was not showcased as heavily in the original movie made 20 years ago. The impact of pop culture and vast social media usage is integrated into the story seamlessly between sequences of Instagram comments, TikTok videos, and iPhone recordings throughout the movie. The prominent use of electronics shows a clear separation in the times of the original film and this one, creatively establishing a modern point of view for this version.
The current use of social media platforms, as well as the referencing of trending pop culture moments, creates a refined version of the story that fits well with this new generation. After all, the fact that the movies are 20 years apart creates reasonable cause for certain changes to be made amid the props and script, for instance. For a movie centered around the regular superficial and eventful experience that is high school, Mean Girls captures a clear distinction among friendships, bullying, and societal standards between 2004 and 2024.