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Girls Trip - Movie Review

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Girls Trip - Movie Review

4 starsDirector Malcolm D. Lee – cousin to Spike Lee – turns the friends-behaving-badly genre on its head with Girls Trip, a riotously funny celebration of woman, friendship, and loyalty that follows the debaucherous antics of four college friends reunited for a girls trip to New Orleans. Though ads feature A-listers Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah above the fold, it’s the breakout performance of The Carmichael Show’s Tiffany Haddish that will have you rolling in the aisles as she absolutely steals the show right out from under the blingy high-heels of her co-stars.

Haddish is Dina, the Melissa McCarthy of the party quartet that also includes Ryan (Regina Hall), Sasha (Queen Latifah), and Lisa (Pinkett Smith) better known as the “Flossy Posse” who tore it up back in college and now – ten years later – have their sights set on the Crescent City with plans to stay up late, dance, drink, get wild, and make memories.

The girls are accompanying Ryan, a successful self-help author, who has been selected as the keynote speaker at the annual Essence festival. Along with her former football player husband Stewart (Mike Colter), Ryan is the picture of success on the outside, but shows her flaws when it is discovered that Stewart has eyes – and lips – for someone else. The Barbershop actress and Black-ish veteran takes her leading role by the throat and squeezes plenty of funny from her Ryan while also holding her own against Latifah in the film’s more dramatic and heart-felt moments.

Latifah is Sasha Franklin, once a respected journalist but now toiling away at her own gossip blog that doesn’t pay the bills. Conflict rears its head when Sasha is faced with the difficult decision of whether to run a story on Ryan and Stewart’s wobbly marriage or to remain loyal to her lifelong friend. Latifah is Latifah here and we get nothing but a brilliant turn as she brings home the film’s genuine themes of faith, dependability, and friendship.

As Lisa Cooper, Pinkett Smith plays the single mom, and working nurse who once really had “it” back in the day but has since seen her light dim a bit due to the responsibility of kids, family, and the routine of working life. She hopes the trip will help her get her groove back.

Veterans Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah truly light up the screen with their ensemble performances. They are pros and it shows. The pair first worked together on 1996’s Set It Off, but this time around they settle into a well-oiled groove that feels absolutely perfect. But it is Haddish who shoves everyone aside and fires a resounding shot across the bow of female comedians everywhere. Her foul-mouthed, down-right raunchy Dina turns what could have been an irritating role into one of the funniest of 2017. The movie is always a lot more entertaining – not to mention funnier – when she’s on the screen. Bad jokes that should fall flat always strike gold with her tilted head and sassy delivery. That “booty hole” joke still gets me.

Lee’s direction also needs mention here, not so much for its masterful strokes of genius, but rather due to Lee’s recognition of when to step out of the way and keep the camera rolling. With a stable full of comedic thoroughbreds, it is often best to simply let go of the reigns and hold on for the ride.

The script by Kenya Barris & Tracy Oliver is more than worthy of its hard R-rating and includes many scenes of drug use, sex, vulgar language, and crude sight gags, including one that might just ruin your love of grapefruits forever. You have to see it to understand. But the gut-busting comedy is rarely ever mean-spirited – a refreshing trait in today’s world.

If there’a anything to knock about Girls Trip, it’s Lee’s 2+ hour runtime that tends to drag in its closing moments. That’s a bit too long for a comedy, but this trip is one you don’t want to miss.

Girls Trip - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: R for crude and sexual content throughout, pervasive language, brief graphic nudity, and drug material.
Runtime:
122 mins
Director
: Malcom D. Lee
Writer:
Kenya Barris & Tracy Oliver
Cast:
Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith
Genre
: Comedy
Tagline:
You'll be glad you came.
Memorable Movie Quote: "That's some Shaku Zulu shit right there."
Theatrical Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Official Site: http://www.girlstripmovie.com/
Release Date:
July 21, 2017
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.
Synopsis: When four lifelong friends—Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah—travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival, sisterhoods are rekindled, wild sides are rediscovered, and there’s enough dancing, drinking, brawling and romancing to make the Big Easy blush.  James Lopez, head of motion pictures for Will Packer Productions, and Preston Holmes, executive produce.

No details available.

Girls Trip - Movie Review

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