Starring Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Tiffany Haddish, Mike Colter, Kate Walsh, Larenz Tate
Director Malcolm D. Lee continues his collaborations with lucky charm Regina Hall following Barbershop: The Next Cut and The Best Man Holiday. Girls Trip might look like the black version of Rough Night (last month’s raunchy female road trip), but this film has substance, however minor, between all the raunchy jokes. It got two laughs out of me in two hours, which is two more than the Scarlet Johansson mess. The male genitalia joke’s in this one are double, I lost count around thirteen mentions, but don’t expect flattering male nudity. Rough Night aimed for a general audience and failed, while Girls Trip knows exactly who and what its aiming for. Judging by the audience continued involvement throughout the two-hour comedy, I would say it hits that target.
In the early 90’s, they were known as The Flossy Posse, always together, even after graduation, meeting up once a year for a trip. As the women have gotten older, involved in their lives, work, marriages and divorces, they have lost touch. Ryan (Hall) now a successful self-help author corrals the girls in New Orleans for Essence fest to let their hair down. Sasha (Latifah) is struggling to pay the bills with her celebrity gossip blog, Lisa (Smith) a single working mother of two hasn’t had a man in years, while life of the party Dina (Haddish) is just looking to cause chaos wherever the land. The trip is immediately off to a rocky start when photos of Ryan’s husband and partner are circulated proving the guru of “you can have it all”, has been putting on a face for the media and sponsorship.
Haddish, the least known cast member, steals the show.
The women of Girls Trip form a predictable foursome, as each offers something stereo-typically specific to the story, mirroring other raunchy party flicks. “Turnt” is the term the girls use to describe what they are planning in Louisiana. Kate Walsh, the odd white girl out, Ryan’s eccentric agent, is reprimanded for her inappropriate use of idioms. While the screenplay finally ends on a notion of good advice and friendship celebration, there is a lot of urination spraying, hallucinogenic drugs, and grapefruit sex exploring scenes to suffer through. Tiffany Haddish, the least known cast member steals the show with her constant profanity, colloquialisms, and outrageous behavior. If this film does well at the box office, expect to see a lot more of Haddish.
Cameos from musical artists performing at the 2016 Essence fest are featured throughout the film as Girls Trip was shot around the real event. This ‘Trip’ does a better job balancing the raunchy material and redeeming subject matter than The Hangover trilogy and its copycats. Still, this type of pure entertainment, escapism flick is so similar and predictable it’s surprising audiences continue to pay for something they have seen numerous times in various forms. Girls Trip certainly functions as counter programing against WWII film Dunkirk and science fiction epic Valerian this week, providing something for everyone at the box office.
A slightly better than usual raunch-comedy that works in redeeming value before the end.