You'll never look at a grapefruit the same way again...
Girls Trip, the first truly gut-busting comedy of 2017, is a fabulous showcase for its four dynamite leading ladies. Comparisons will no doubt be made between this and fellow ensemble hit Bridesmaids but the latter, enjoyable as it may be, seems merely sitcom-level vis a vis this picture. This is a raunchier, bolder and all-around more satisfying romp.
The film follows the "Flossy Posse" of college besties - Ryan (Regina Hall), Sasha (Queen Latifah), Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Dina (Tiffany Haddish) - as they reunite in New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival, where Ryan, a best-selling author, has been tapped to deliver a keynote address. Hilarious hijinks of course ensue as the foursome drink, dance, romance and get their wild sides back in action but the proceedings hit a number of serious notes too.
Ryan's friends see right through her phony marriage to retired football star Stewart (Mike Colter), who has been caught yet again hooking up with another woman (who, of course, happens to also be in New Orleans for the event, setting up an inevitable brawl). There's also plenty of tension bubbling beneath the surface between Ryan and Sasha, years ago on track for a joint business venture that fell through when Ryan went out on her own. Now, Sasha runs a trashy celebrity gossip blog that barely pays the bills.
Director Malcolm D. Lee and screenwriters Kenya Barris and Tracy Oliver pull off a commendable balancing act in delivering the raucous laughs while also hitting home on a more dramatic level.
All four stars are in prime form. Haddish all but owns the first half of the film with a side-splittingly funny performance that threatens to upstage the rest of the picture. But then it's Hall who really shines in the second half, as the proceedings take that more serious turn and Lee, Barris and Oliver tackle the topic of infidelity with great wisdom and nuance. Smith is terrific too as the divorced single mom most struggling to at last let loose. And we of course cannot forget Latifah, who, with some absinthe and a lamp, lands one of the film's funniest and most memorable moments.
Girls Trip isn't absolute perfection - there are a handful of gags and scenes that don't quite land - but still, as a vehicle that gives its four super-talented stars a rich opportunity to shine and make us laugh our asses off for two hours, it's well worth a look.