Revisiting Mean Girls 2: How the Sequel Compares to the Iconic Original Film

Revisiting Mean Girls 2: How the Sequel Compares to the Iconic Original Film
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Revisiting the Mean Girls Phenomenon

In 2004, the original Mean Girls film starring Lindsay Lohan took the world by storm. With its quotable one-liners and satirical look at high school cliques, it became an instant cultural touchstone that still resonates with audiences today. So it was no surprise when a sequel was announced in 2011 to capitalize on the success of the first movie. Directed by Melanie Mayron, Mean Girls 2 brings back the laughs, drama and girl-on-girl combat that made its predecessor such a hit.

Plotting a Return to North Shore High

Mean Girls 2 follows high school newcomer Jo Mitchell, played by Meaghan Martin, who has lived all over the world but now finds herself thrust into the unfamiliar wilderness that is North Shore High School. She quickly discovers that cliques still dominate the social scene, especially the most elite and popular group made up of rich and beautiful girls known as "The Plastics."

Jo initially befriends quirky outsider Abby Hanover, played by Jennifer Stone, but soon catches the eye of The Plastics' leader Mandi Weatherly played by Maiara Walsh. Mandi invites Jo to hang out with her crew which includes Dylan Schoenfield played by Claire Holt and Chastity Meyer played by Bethany Anne Lind. At first seduced by the promise of easy popularity, Jo starts to question whether she really fits in with the mean girls.

Bringing the Drama with Frenemies and Love Interests

No high school film would be complete without romantic entanglements and Mean Girls 2 is no exception. Jo develops a crush on Tyler Adams played by Diego Boneta, a handsome soccer player and Mandi's on-again, off-again boyfriend. This breeds plenty of jealousy and tension between Jo and Mandi as they jockey for Tyler's attention. It becomes readily apparent that surviving North Shore means choosing sides in the never-ending minefield of friendships, cliques and relationships.

Comparisons to the Original

While Mean Girls 2 follows a similar narrative structure with new characters to the 2004 film, it was not as beloved by fans and critics alike. Whereas the first movie won praise for its sharp, Generation-Y inspired writing from Tina Fey, the sequel suffers from more formulaic and forgettable dialogue. Much of Mean Girls' initial appeal also centered around Lindsay Lohan who was at the height of her fame. The lesser known cast of the second installment failed to make the same impression.

However, Mean Girls 2 is still an enjoyable watch, even if simply to relive the pettiness, backstabbing and relationship drama viewers expect from any film set in a high school. It also retains the cutting commentary and skewering of toxic femininity that made the first movie such a cult favorite. Any fan of the teen genre should appreciate Mean Girls 2's sense of familiarity, even if it doesn't quite recapture the magic that lightning-in-a-bottle quality of the original.

Where Are They Now?

While Mean Girls 2 did not launch any of its stars into massive A-list careers, some of the cast members have popped up in various television shows and films over the years. Meaghan Martin had a recurring role as McKenna on Disney Channel's Camp Rock sequel and also appeared in the sitcom 10 Things I Hate About You based off the 1999 film. Maiara Walsh briefly appeared as the werewolf Caylee on MTV's Teen Wolf before recurring on The Last Ship. Diego Boneta is likely the most recognizable face having played Luis in Rock of Ages opposite Tom Cruise before starring as late singer Luis Miguel in the Spanish biopic Luis Miguel: La Serie on Netflix.

Legacy of the Plastics

Regardless if audiences felt Mean Girls 2 lived up to its predecessor, most would likely agree a sequel was unnecessary to cement the original film's legacy in pop culture. Fourteen years later, Mean Girls remains one of the most beloved, quotable teen movies of all time. Much of the first movie's appeal comes from the dynamite pairing of infection Tina Fey's clever writing and Lindsay Lohan's iconic star-making performance as Cady Heron. But the real staying power lies in its honest, albeit exaggerated, depiction of how terribly girls can treat each other and the cutthroat social hierarchy that still pervades high schools globally.

In Conclusion

At the end of the day, Mean Girls 2 is simply more of the same when it comes to backstabbing teen drama, albeit without the fresh wit and subtle nuance that bolstered its predecessor to hot icon status. It features the classic love triangle storyline between the protagonist and her high school nemesis over the resident heartthrob. However, the absurdity of pettiness among young girls wishing to climb North Shore’s social ladder retains plenty of entertainment value for fans of the series at large. So whether you think Mean Girls 2 amounts to a pale imitation or consider it a fun spiritual successor, it ultimately provides more laughs and life lessons when it comes to the universal languages of cliques, gossip and femininity.


Who stars in the sequel Mean Girls 2?

The main cast features Meaghan Martin as protagonist Jo Mitchell, Maiara Walsh as queen bee Mandi Weatherly, Jennifer Stone as Jo's friend Abby Hanover, and Diego Boneta as love interest Tyler Adams. Claire Holt and Bethany Anne Lind play Mandi's sidekicks in The Plastics clique.

Is Tina Fey involved in the sequel?

No, Tina Fey wrote the screenplay for the original Mean Girls but did not return for the sequel. The 2011 follow up was directed by Melanie Mayron and based on a story concept by Lorne Cameron.

How was Mean Girls 2 received by audiences and critics?

While some fans enjoyed revisiting the drama of North Shore High School, overall Mean Girls 2 was considered inferior to the 2004 hit comedy. It failed to match the clever writing, quotable dialogue, and star power of the first movie.

Where can I watch Mean Girls 2?

Mean Girls 2 is available to rent or purchase on digital platforms like Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, YouTube, and Google Play. It also sometimes airs on cable channels like MTV, ABC Family/Freeform, and TBS.

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