“Mean Girls” need to have a place at the hip kids’ table.

Thanks to its incredibly brilliant ensemble, great songs, references to the original film, and timeless (if well-known) teachings about high school life, “Mean Girls” deserves a place at the cool kids table. It remains a challenge to set itself apart from the Disney Channel/teen musical pack, but in the end, whether seen in a theater or on streaming, it’s a lot of fun and an all-too-rare find. In addition to writing the story and producing the production, Tina Fey and Tim Meadows reprise their roles as principal and instructor in this adaption of the musical based on the 2004 movie.

Nevertheless, the junior cast plays a major role in the film’s development, as do the creative and catchy songs written by lyricist Nell Benjamin and composer Jeff Richmond. Directors Samantha Jayne and Arturo Perez Jr. This time, Angourie Rice (“Mare of Easttown”) plays Cady Heron, the wide-eyed outsider who just joined the high school clique after receiving her education in Kenya from her mother Jenna Fischer. Following a few awkward moments, Cady befriends two colorful misfits, Janis (Auli’i Cravalho) and Damian (Jaquel Spivey), who are initially only looking out for her. To everyone’s surprise, however, Cady gets an invitation to sit with Regina George, the school’s queen bee (played by Reneé Rapp in “The Sex Lives of College Girls”), who rules over the student body with her two devoted sidekicks, Avantika and Bebe Wood, a dynamic that is aptly captured by the song “Apex Predator.”

The reserved Cady, a gifted math student, also suffers from a severe case of “calculust,” as she humorously sings, over Aaron (Christopher Briney), who is Regina’s ex and, therefore, off limits if she wants to maintain her standing in the cool-girl tier. Nevertheless, she is working as a kind of double agent, entering Regina’s trio on Janis’s behalf while gradually giving in to the allure of being at the top of the adolescent social hierarchy. The viral films that Layne and Perez Jr. skillfully translate from stage to screen and into the 2020s feature fast-paced, often overly fast-paced content. But the fundamental conflicts and relationships endure, and the best of the music bursts with contagious intensity and a Fey-like disregard for musical traditions.

Along with “The Color Purple” and the stage-filmed musical “Waitress,” “Mean Girls” joins a stellar lineup of recently released musicals. More, including the two-part “Wicked,” are in the works. The biggest challenge is keeping this content apart from the abundance of adolescent entertainment available on TV and streaming services, but to be honest, it should be sufficient to introduce “Mean Girls” to a new generation and provide the best seat in the house for Cravalho’s performance of “I’d Rather Be Me” or Rapp’s performance of “World Burn.” “Mean Girls” may rehash tired clichés about the caste system in high school, but it passes muster with audiences looking for a fun couple of hours at the theater.

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