Now that ‘Mean Girls‘ has been introduced to a new generation by way of a Broadway musical inspired by the hit 2004 flick, you might be wondering if the soon-to-be teen classic is age-appropriate for tweens and younger kids. With a PG-13 rating and plenty of the sass that the original movie had, here’s everything you need to know about the film’s dialogue, thematic elements, and adult references, so you can gauge whether to hit the theater or wait a few years to watch at home.
As mentioned, the Motion Picture Association assigned a PG-13 rating to the film, citing “sexual material, strong language, and teen drinking.” And while the 2024 update (thankfully!) has scrapped the many instances of slurs used in the original, this one still includes some coarse language that you might not love younger kids hearing. Of course, there’s also “fugly.”
Thematically, the film includes storylines that may or may not go over younger kids’ heads, such as bullying and peer pressure. And while sexuality was handled in some not-great ways in the original movie, the 2024 update discusses coming out in a much more positive manner. Auli’i Cravalho, who plays Janice Ian in the new film, told PEOPLE, “I love that Lebanese/lesbian joke from our ’04 classic, but now we’re taking it back … We’re no longer using lesbian as a slur, thank you very much. And I think it’s really important for representation.” Thankfully, the casual and constant racism and body-shaming in the original has been removed, too.
As in the original, alcohol is prevalent in several scenes, as the famous Halloween party and the Plastics party at Cady’s house remain important plot points to the musical remake. There are also some sexual innuendos, but thematically, it’s more suggestive than anything else. For example, Jon Hamm plays Coach Carr in this version, and while the storyline about him being a predator is gone (whew!), his hilariously bad sex talk has stayed. The Plastics do wear their signature risqué outfits, including their “sexy” Halloween outfits. There are ample makeout moments and one scene involves Gretchen Wieners’ skeezy boyfriend Jason making sexual advances towards Cady, but all in all, it’s nothing you couldn’t turn into a teachable moment for curious kiddos.
Given a modern-day update, the film includes plenty of discussion about social media and being “canceled” online, which might help leverage some good conversation points for your tweens and teens. Ultimately, you know your kids and what you think they can handle, and there’s a good chance a lot of the cheekier moments will fly over their heads. But the message of Mean Girls — and the timeless reminder that high school is tough — is relatable to any generation, even if they haven’t gotten there yet. Using it as a jumping-off point to discuss cliques, bullying, social media, and finding their own identity is, dare we say, so fetch.