By the time this goes live. The content from other journalists and movie critics will be all the buzz. So instead of giving our detailed opinions (because who are we to judge a movie with just a one-time pre-screening context) - we’ll share what we think each generation will appreciate from the movie.
Also huge thank you to Paramount & Taro Group for the invitation. Montage media is a dream of ours as an extension of our nonprofit and podcast. An opportunity to have the next generation part of the conversations and creative opportunities in the media.
Take our thoughts with a grain of salt, but we did sit with all the generations represented and could hear launches from different parts of the room depending on the scenes or joke punchlines.
No surprise Renee Rapp's voice is angelic, but Auli'i Cravalho as Janis. Incredible. Gorgeous, stunning singer, great chemistry with bestie Jaquel Spivey. Period. (as the kids would say).
What generation would love would it most? Millennials
When to go to the bathroom:
Musical number hallway party song or part of Regina’s solo song at the Halloween party. You’ll see strobes twitchy kind of dancing. That’s your sign.
Generational gap notice: At first I was wondering why pick Ashley Park to play a teacher but I was quickly reminded that some of my friends are also only 9 years older than the classes they teach. Which would make them want to be somewhat cool with the trends. You’ll see what we mean.
Musical skills/ acting & looks: We give 10/10 all around. The women cast are such strong next-generation actors that I barely remember anything memorable from the guys.
Emotions: Very 50/50 opinions from our community. Everyone on our team had a list of things they appreciated accompanied by some confusion or personal preference choices because without full proper context to the Mean Girls Broadway “world” and franchise, there is a lot that seems random in the movie.
Tina Fey did an incredible job in her technically “reprised role” and she has clearly put in hard intentional work with the variations of this story. Did anyone else forget there was a Mean Girls 2? It’s ok. It doesn't count.
Tina Fey’s skilled comedy background is very obvious because what moments would be serious deep Gen Z topics get lightened up with humor - which is very accurate to today. But what did we expect? It’s an over drastic version of the OG.
There was an article about how she sought some feedback from her kids, who told her to not let the millennials overthink it. There were so many ways this could have gone, all could have been futuristic, a digital platform rather than a physical burn book, Snapchat or TikTok being the main storyline drivers. Cady being new to using modern-day tech and growing as a social media influencer or focusing on her platform, but it’s not that.
There are already mixed opinions on the use of familiar app UX as video frames to showcase different events. But we choose to see them as emphasis and transitions between scenes. This seems more realistic for people to share online their true opinions than whisper in the hallways.
Fave characters: hard one because the cast complimented each other in various ways. Each leveraging their strengths whether it be vocals, acting or comedic facial expressions and like delivery timing. We give a big round of applause for the different types of representation done in what seemed like a tasteful way. Overall things felt casted well. If we had to pick a fave, probably Janis.
Before we get into the generations - let’s address the elephant in the room. It is a musical. A broadway musical adaptation - but not everyone seems to know that.
We read full press week social media captions that were written without that knowledge. And that is ok. Generating conversation, buzz and engagement whether it’s people trying to blast their opinions is all good for the hype at the end of the day. You searching, asking posting and watching clips is good for the marketing team of any movie, collab or event associated. That will get you into theatres out of curiosity.
You may leave feeling all kinds of ways, but it IS worth the money to see. Visually and entertainment-wise it's got depth.
Gen Alpha: this one is not for you. If you were planning on taking your pre-teen with you to the movies. I wouldn’t. Yes high school may be their reality or near but this version feels even more graphic due to just present-day what can be considered normal in culture. We see this everywhere from actors' social media feeds to friends who feel comfortable posting and sharing their sensual side. If you have a Gen Alpha sister or child, opt out and go with your own girlfriends.
Gen Z: this is generalizing a little but most of the community we know around this age will be very aware that this movie tried to be geared toward them and we don’t love a try-hard. So maybe be prepared to go into it with an open mind. Know that it is an exaggerated version of what could be your reality and that is what makes a good story plot. We think you will appreciate the makeup and looks. Depending on your age, interests and where you land on the micro trend and pop culture sphere - the actor choice might have been somewhat familiar but also not as relevent to you as media might think.
Zillennial: this one called for a mid-generation grouping. Those in the older Gen Z demographic will probably leave feeling lots of t feelings. I recommend a debrief over drinks after watching it with some friends.
You might just be able to tune out the very extra musical number moments that dragged on a tiny bit, or you might be deeply concerned for the next generation remembering how growing up you watched Mean Girls with yes a bit of not school or church-friendly content, but it was not THIS much.
Millennial: Part of me thinks this will really entertain you. It’s an escape from your day and it is created by people like you, so of course yes there are a lot of styles, phrases and concepts you did not personally experience in high school - but you will get past it and find it less tasteful but creative.
You will definitely relate to the school & math competition staff and you will laugh at the nostalgic recreations. I was satisfied when I saw Cady’s Halloween costume.
It is hard to call the recreation of the movie's visual iconic moments a modern adaptation because even a small spoiler the bra/tank cut out is not the trend Regina starts - but it’s not the total extreme where there is Ai involved or that she creates a TikTok dance that goes viral.
I also think millennials will laugh, watch it to cope and escape reality. They should do 2 girls' nights, one for the movie and one for the musical if it's coming to a city near you.
Gen X: depending on how you grew up, I think you will have a hoot. I cautioned wanting to picture bringing the Gen X’s in my life to see this movie. I think that demographic will have polar opposite reactions. Those who are truly cool moms will laugh proudly and have an "oh kids will be kids" perspective and not overthink it. The other percentage I can see immediately posting on Facebook how this is not appropriate, and silly lyrics.
We will get into the marketing, brand placements and add links to other movie reviews another time as the media picks up. Until then, let us know what you think and follow along on social for more content like this.
Quotes from friends:
I’m not a big musical fan or familiar with Broadway shows and I felt like they did a good job of staying true to the ✨ iconic ✨ first film while still not being just another musical. They did a good balance of both. I think Broadway fans would enjoy watching it. Also, Renee Rapp was a queen and did a phenomenal job. I feel like a lot of Gen Z look up to her and love how refreshing she is. - Savannah Locke, Zillennial
As much as I love the drama and extra pink outfits which was my initial infatuation with mean girls, this time I saw it in a completely different light. I saw the "real" behind the plastics, the insecurity and challenges of each uniquely dynamic character. even if you're not a fan of musicals, the music is so well incorporated into the plot we all know to love from 20 years ago (I know it's a little beyond our time ahaha) - Sofiya Soboleva , Gen Z
Hi 👋, we’re Montage a non-profit and podcast that bridges gaps between generations. So this only made sense.
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Photos by: JOJO WHILDEN/Jojo Whilden - © 2023 Paramount Pictures.
They make it really easy to find a theatre near you and get tickets: www.meangirls.com