From 'Mean Girls' to 'Legally Blonde': A Breakdown of Movie References in Ariana Grande's "Thank U, Next" Video
Enlisting help from Kris Jenner and Jennifer Coolidge, the pop star paid homage to popular teen films including 'Bring It On' and '13 Going on 30.'
It was a blast from the rom-com past for Ariana Grande's new music video for her recent single, "Thank U, Next," as the singer paid homage to iconic teen films such as Mean Girls, Bring It On, Legally Blonde and 13 Going on 30. Apart from reenacting famous scenes from each of the films, the singer also enlisted help from Hollywood stars who took on the roles of recognizable characters.
Here's a breakdown of the references visible in Grande's video:
Already having teased paying homage to the 2004 film starring Lindsay Lohan on her social media channels throughout the week, Grande opened the video by reenacting the film's montage of student gossip, which featured some surprise cameos from singer Troye Sivan, and the film's original stars Jonathan Bennett and Stefanie Drummond. YouTuber Gabi Demartino, who notoriously impersonates the singer, also makes a small cameo as a student discussing the rumors surrounding Grande's character.
While walking the school halls with her version of the film's "Plastics" clique, Grande's former Victorious co-star Elizabeth Gillies portrays Lohan's character, Cady Heron.
In another scene, Grande is dressed in the same attire as Rachel McAdams' character, Regina George — donning an 'A' pendant necklace with a blond wig — as she chronicles her love life through her revamp of the film's "Burn Book," only this time penning thank-you notes to each ex. Each page shows a photograph of her exes: rapper Big Sean, her former backup dancer Ricky Alvarez and Pete Davidson with messages including: "So Cute, so sweet (could still get it)" for Sean, "Great dancer, good times man, friends forever" for Alvarez and "I love u always. Sry I dipped" for Davidson. She also makes a quip about her previous comments about Davidson's physique, writing "HUUUUGE" underneath their photograph.
In her version of the film's holiday dance sequence, Kris Jenner plays Amy Poehler's role from the movie, recording the girls' dance on the stage while imitating the choreography herself. She is, after all, a "cool mom."
Bring It On
Grande enlisted more of her Victorious co-stars to take on the characters from the 2000 film centering on rival high school cheerleading squads. Matt Bennett subs in for the original's male lead, Cliff Pantone, in the toothbrush competition scene made famous by the film's original stars, Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Bradford.
During a cheerleading performance at a football game — donning the same uniforms as the film's squad — Grande's teammates include Victorious co-star Daniella Monet and YouTuber Miranda Sings (real name Colleen Ballinger). And yes, she's pregnant IRL.
In another sequence, Grande plays Reese Witherspoon's Elle Woods as she takes on Harvard University while wearing the character's iconic pink attire and carrying a puppy as Woods does in the film.
In the hair salon sequence recognizable from the 2000 film, Grande is shown having a discussion with the film's original star Jennifer Coolidge, who reprises her role as Paulette.
Grande and Coolidge are also shown performing the film's iconic "Bend and Snap" flirting method among the salon visitors.
13 Going on 30
In a sequence meant to represent the singer foreshadowing her eventual marriage, Grande dons a shorter hairstyle while carrying a dollhouse, paying homage to the 2004 film starring Jennifer Garner. In the film, Garner's teenage character, Jenna, aspires to be a 30-year-old and her dream becomes a reality after magical dust from the dollhouse falls on her. In the video, the magical dust is shown falling on Grande's head.
The film's original star Mark Ruffalo, thanked Grande for honoring the film, tweeting: "Having some Razzles (it's candy AND a gum) in your honor." The actor was referencing his character's favorite candy.