Hot Take: Girls Trip earns enough laughs that you can forgive it for a weak third act. It’s what Rough Night would have been if it were funny. The best comedy of the summer… so far.
After Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, the weight I put on a trailer was already in question. After seeing Girls Trip which features yet an0ther trailer I was rather unimpressed with and finding the movie to be both funny and entertaining, I’m now starting to doubt trailers as a gauge all together. My guess is The Emoji Movie will fix that when it’s as awful as the trailer has led me to believe it will be.
Girls Trip features 4 college friends who have drifted apart getting back together for a weekend to relive their wild past as the Flossy Posse. Ryan (Regina Hall) is a self-help guru tabbed as the next Oprah and is the one who rounded up her old group as she was selected to be the keynote speaker at the Essence Festival in New Orleans. Sasha (Queen Latifah) is an online gossip blogger who had a falling out with Ryan years ago when Ryan bailed on their business endeavor. Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith) used to be one of the wildest members of the group but now is a mom of 2. Dina (Tiffany Haddish) used to be the foul mouthed, trouble making, promiscuous member of the group and, well, some things never change. The 4 fly to New Orleans together and the 3 are blown away by how popular and loved Ryan is but quickly find out it is all a charade when one of Sasha’s sources leaks her pictures of Ryan’s husband Stewart (Mike Colter) cheating on her. They confront Ryan with the information who says they are working things out as she wants to maintain her “Have It All” image for the sake of her brand.
The 4 actresses shine in their roles as veterans Latifah, Pinkett Smith and Hall are their consistent selves. Haddish, somewhat of a newcomer compared to the other 3, is the scene-stealing equivalent of Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids and Girls Night could be a launching pad for her form of filth and raunchiness that is incredibly hilarious. The foursome have impeccable chemistry and seem as close as you’d expect 4 college friends to be with enough silent tension that typically builds up in these lifelong relationships. If you thought Bridesmaids was unexpectedly filthy for a predominately female cast, wait until you see these girls in Girls Trip who take it to another level with crude, explicit and completely raw comedy.
As Girls Trip comes in for a landing, that’s where it gets bumpy. Writers Kenya Barris and Tracy Oliver go for the uplifting ending in an attempt to show the film’s softer, sisterhood side. Unfortunately, it comes across as more sappy than soft and more safe than anything. The friendship of the 4 girls is what drives the movie but it almost takes a back seat to Ryan’s character arc which is the most developed of the 4 in the story. For most of the movie, even though Ryan is the focal point, there’s an impressive balance between the 4 girls but as the film leans more toward a single character, it loses some of its edge and doesn’t necessarily stick the landing. It’s not bad, it just feels like it could have been better. Or at least shorter. (Most comedies can’t survive a 2+ hour run time and this one almost did.)
With most of the summer behind us, Girls Trip, like Bad Moms in 2016, looks to be the unexpected comedy hit of the summer. Not that 2017 has been a great summer for comedies (Snatched, Rough Night, The House and Baywatch are the competition), but even in a summer with a better lineup, there’s a good chance Girls Trip would have still been a contender. You left hoping these girls wouldn’t wait so long to get back together again, that’s for sure.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
Previously, Haddish played Hi-C in last year’s Keanu which meant she took a back seat to an adorable kitten. In Girls Trip, she was the one overshadowing her cast mates who carried more clout but Haddish’s outbursts (especially the one with Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom as a punching) will likely be what you remember from the film.
- The Essence of New Orleans
The movie captures the party atmosphere of New Orleans without completely overselling it.
- You’ll Never Look at Grapefruit the Same Way Again
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- But New Orleans Ain’t That Clean
Sorry but the streets of New Orleans are just not that clean. Don’t let this movie fool you.