‘Girls Trip’ Review: Port of Call New Orleans

Most movies about women hanging out inevitably turn to singing into hairbrushes. The gals of Girls Trip are way more hardcore than that. The Bridesmaids ain’t got nothing on these girls.

Ryan (Regina Hall), Sasha (Queen Latifah), Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Dina (Tiffany Haddish) used to be the Flossy Posse, but time, family and career have kept them apart. When Ryan is invited to be the keynote speaker at Essence Fest in New Orleans, she invites the Flossy Posse to join her and reconnect.

Haddish immediately stakes her claim to the film’s most quotable lines. All four actors get moments to shine and inject the film with heart, but Hadish makes the most of her moments, yet skillfully avoids stealing the spotlight from her equal costars. That’s a pro and Hadish should get her own solo vehicle out of this performance.

There are great moments where the whole ensemble works together too. When 3/4 of the Flossy Posse are waiting to break some bad news to Ryan, their faces are priceless. Drinking drinks spiked with Absinthe may be a cliche but when it hits the entire cast simultaneously, that’s comedy. Their individual hallucinations are all funny too.

Many party movies have gone so far off the deep end, in an attempt to top their predecessors, that they don’t seem like fun at all. Girls Trip actually portrays things that would be ideal for people to do. Getting on stage with Diddy is something that would appeal to almost anyone. You don’t even have to like Diddy’s music to think that’s pretty damn cool.

There’s a gross out scene that’s both bold and effectively constructed, if one were to study those sorts of things. I expect to hear about a lot of grapefruiting accidents as a result of this movie too.

Two hours is a tad too long. Maybe a three day trip would get the job done better than four. Each of the four friends have an arc though, and Haddish even manages to have the sweetest heartstring moment of the quartet. It’s poignant and affirming when each woman finds her strength, but as the leader of the Posse, Hall may have the trickiest balance of complex human drama while still nailing the comedy.

It’s interesting that blogs and TV deals are the new “movie jobs” for characters now. Ryan has a TV self-help empire and Sasha runs a gossip blog. In the TMZ/Real Housewives culture, this is what audiences know. It used to be advertising or finance which were generic jobs in which a protagonist had a big deal that had to be completed by the end of the movie. It’s understandable that finance is now frowned upon. I wonder if private jobs will ever make a comeback with movie characters.

There’ve been some solid big studio comedies this summer (and even more indies like The Big Sick and Band Aid), so it’s a good season when we can champion Snatched, Rough Night and Girls Trip. Girls Trip is the tip of that triangle. It’s the funniest movie of the summer. There should be lots and lots of sequels of Girls Trip to… other fun places, but the third one needs to be Girls Trip: Tokyo Drift.

Written by
Fred Topel also known as Franchise Fred has been an entertainment journalist since 1999 and specializes in writing about film, television and video games. Fred has written for several outlets including About.com, CraveOnline, and Rotten Tomatoes among others. His favorite films include Toy Story 2, The Rock, Face/Off, True Lies, Labyrinth, The Big Hit, Michael Moore's The Big One, and Casablanca. We are very lucky and excited to have Fred as part of the We Live Entertainment team. Follow him on Twitter @FranchiseFred and @FredTopel

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