UNIVERSAL PICTURES (2017)

 

Director: Malcolm D. Lee

 

Starring: Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Mike Colter, Kate Walsh, Larenz Tate, Deborah Ayorinde

Stock up on grapefruits, girls…

 

Girl power is back as the next serving of all-female comedy japes comes in the form of Girls Trip (following the likes of Bridesmaids, Bad Moms and Rough Night). Four best friends - in their late-30s/mid-40s and collectively known as the Flossy Posse - head for a wild weekend in New Orleans after years apart. Re-bonding, partying, drinking and some sexy time is on the menu and nothing’s going to stand in their way.

 

Except each other.

Author and lifestyle guru Ryan (Hall) has been invited to be the keynote speaker at the New Orleans’ Essence Festival, along with her silk-tongued, advertisement voiced husband Stewart (Colter). Having spent five years apart, Ryan believes the festival will help reunite the Posse, so along they come. With failed journalist-turned-gossip blogger Sasha (Latifah), nurse and uber-mother Lisa (Smith) and recently fired wild child Dina (Haddish) in tow, the Posse head for The Big Easy. However, it turns out that Stewart has been a very naughty boy indeed, canoodling and fumbling with Instagram model Simone (Ayorinde) – scheming bastard. Leaked photos make their way to Sasha who left with the decision to help her friend or exploit the images for some much-needed cash.

 

Having to find new digs after being booted out of their 5* luxury hotel, the Posse is put up by kind old friend Julian (Tate) and the partying really begins. Thing is, when there’s booze, drugs, egos and men involved - something has to give and not everything is plain sailing for the Posse during their reconnection.

 

Grapefruit schlongs, waterfalls of piss, absinthe trips and an old man’s (very) exposed ballsack and goodies – all just a few elements that make up the fun of Girls Trip. It’s a movie that will require you to just sit back and have fun, but there are deeper themes of friendship and loyalty running throughout (isn’t there always?). The movie trundles along at its own erratic pace, but when it’s lively, the party is hard.

 

The Posse themselves all work very well together, there’s a genuine chemistry between them and a belief they are really estranged old buddies. When the ensemble casting is just right, everything will fall into place. Regina Hall is the face of the movie, Latifah the heart, Smith the soul and Haddish is the genitals. Smith has the most to do character-wise, having to transform from the spinster she has become into the wild sex goddess of old, and she’s great. Haddish is unleashed throughout the movie and is the focal point of the majority of the comedy. She can border on “too much” at certain times, but the movie quickly pulls you back in. Kate Walsh as the overbearing agent is delightfully cringey (as is intended).

 

There are cameos galore too, including Ne-Yo, Mariah Carey, Ana DuVernay and P-Diddy/Puff Daddy/Sean Coombes/Coombes Daddy/P/Diddy/Piddy – whatever he calls himself now.

 

Girls Trip is stacked with great comedy moments and that’s what a comedy succeeds on – is it funny? Yes, it is. From the opening ecstatic declaration from Dina that she ‘only’ has chlamydia and it’s treatable to the zip-wire piss explosions onto the unfortunate onlookers below, the “grapefruiting” incident (and explanation) to the final shots together in a bed, there’s plenty of fun and laughs to be had. Each member of the Posse is given their own time to shine individually too, which fleshes things out a bit.

 

However, speaking of fleshing things out, the movie is far too long. Clocking in at a monstrous two-hours, there are sections that seem to run for a long time, longer than they should. As the narrative begins to open out and includes new plot beats and setbacks, the pacing flatlines. The final thirty minutes suffer the worst – it’s that time in a movie where everything needs to be resolved for the best – however, it takes a long time getting there and sucks some of the energy from the overall movie. The balance of humour and warmth was off-kilter.

 

The lack of apostrophe in the title bothers me also.

 

For its flaws, Girls Trip is fun, warm and a blast to watch, even if it’s fifteen minutes or so too long, and is another fine addition to the fem-com canon. With a likeable fun ensemble, the movie will have you laughing and crossing your fingers all the way to that finishing line/bed. The girls rule here and everybody better watch out, the Posse take no prisoners.

October 4th 2017

© 2016 Matt Hudson / What I Watched Tonight / Essex

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