Saturday, 02 March 2024

‘Mean Girls’ not so memorable reboot; ‘Rescue Bowl’ on TV



‘MEAN GIRLS’ RATED PG-13

Screenwriter and director John Hughes was legendary as the creative force behind many memorable films.

He tapped into the zeitgeist of the coming-of-age teenage human condition in comedies that included “Sixteen Candles,” “The Breakfast Club’ and “Weird Science.”

Best of all was “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” which remains a favorite. Matthew Broderick was outstanding as the slacker titular character, a manipulator and con artist as he ditched high school for a day with two friends enjoying the best of Chicago that included a Cubs game at Wrigley Field.

The whole point of bringing up Hughes is that you would be far better off insofar as being entertained by watching his films from the Eighties than spending time with “Mean Girls,” which is essentially a remake of the Broadway musical of the same that was an adaption of the 2004 film.

What we get with the new “Mean Girls” is the same old story of the new girl at the high school finagling her way into the social hierarchy of the popular girl group known as the Plastics, an oddly fitting name for the vacuous teens.

The difference between the two films is that the new version, such as it is considering that Tina Fey was writer of both along with the Broadway musical, are musical numbers that would work best in a stage production.

The role of Cady Heron, originally played to perfection by Lindsay Lohan, now belongs to Angourie Rice. As with the 2004 film, Cady transfers to North Shore High School after being homeschooled in Africa, which would seem to result in a serious case of culture shock.

At first, Cady falls in with two other outsiders, Janis (Auli’i Cravalho) and Damian (Jaquel Spivey).

Janis was once friends with Regina (Renee Rapp), the rich mean girl who is the leader of the Plastics. But that friendship dissolved when Regina outed Janis as a lesbian.

Though warned by her friends to avoid the Plastics, Cady is invited to become part of Queen Bee Regina’s clique, which includes the bubbly and dimwitted Karen (Avantika) and insecure Gretchen (Bebe Wood).

Of course, Regina has ulterior motives; after all, she’s as fake as the name “Plastics” would imply. While Cady is bright, she feigns a lack of math skills to get closer to Regina’s ex-boyfriend Aaron (Christopher Briney).

Naturally, Cady’s infatuation sends Regina into a spiral of cruelty and malicious jealousy, which leads to vindictive backstabbing that one might expect from a borderline sociopath. High school is a brutal breeding ground for broken souls.

Aside from a cameo appearance by Lindsay Lohan as a math quiz moderator, Tina Fey reprises her role as math teacher Ms. Norbury, while Tim Meadows is once again the beleaguered school principal Mr. Duvall, who looks ten years overdue for retirement.

Granted, many of the newcomers as students demonstrate passion and energy, but in the end the inevitable question is why was there a pressing need to bother with a reboot that adds nothing of weight to the overworked teen angst.

Midway through the Nineties, Amy Heckerling, as writer and director, delivered “Clueless,” an appealing coming-of-age teen comedy. She also directed 1982’s “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” a teen comedy that greatly amused with Sean Penn’s stoner slacker Jeff Spicoli.

There are just too many good teen comedies from three to four decades ago to revisit than bothering with an unmemorable remake, unless there’s some weird fascination with the Plastics. “Mean Girls” will likely find its audience, but this reviewer does not fall into that camp.



‘RESCUE BOWL’ PRECEDES THE SUPER BOWL

Super Bowl Sunday on Feb. 11 will be preceded by Great American Family’s annual “Great American Rescue Bowl” that has been created in partnership with the North Shore Animal League America.

The program is a fun interactive way to raise awareness of the huge number of wonderful animals in local shelters across the country and has been highly successful at increasing the adoption rate several fold during Super Bowl weekend.

Renowned animal advocate and bestselling author, Beth Stern, who has personally placed more than 2,000 fosters over the years, returns to host “Great American Rescue Bowl.”

An active member of the Animal League America Board, Beth Stern is joined in hosting duties by TV personality and producer, Brian Balthazar, and 13-time Emmy-winning morning news anchor. Dan Mannarino.

Since 1944, North Shore Animal League America has saved more than 1.1 million pet lives through the organization’s medical care, vaccination programs, and the ultimate pet life savers – rescue and adoption.

“Great American Rescue Bowl 2024” features a tail-biter of a bowl game between The Adorables versus The Cuddlers with a halftime show that will melt hearts. Spoiler alert: The status of each furry player is – adopted!

Animal lovers are bound to be touched by the Animal League’s pioneering as the no-kill movement and architect of the happy ending for more than a million deserving shelter pets for 80 years.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.

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