Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Girls Trip: Movie Review

Funny and satisfying film about love, sex, pee, drugs, debauchery and self-acceptance.
The thing about Girls Trip that works is that it cares about its characters, and its audience. It’s a funny film – crass, funny, and sweet; and so effortlessly it has us caring about this foursome of women. None of these character types are new to film, and none are overly complicated, but they all contribute to the film and there’s a genuineness to all four of them which makes the predictability and relationship drama easier to swallow. 2017

Directed by: Malcolm D. Lee

Screenplay by: Kenya Barris, Tracy Oliver

Starring: Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Tiffany Haddish and Jada Pinkett Smith

The lead is Regina Hall as Ryan Pierce. And I need to make the following very clear: this was a fantastic performance. Ryan’s few main character traits are on the obvious side, and she has a lot less of the comedic lines and actions than her compatriots, but that just makes what Hall did all that more impressive. With just a few moments of comedy and an overly polished introduction, she had me truly caring about Ryan. She very efficiently transitioned from comedy to drama and I was completely invested in everything that Ryan did. She took a character type – a hugely successful celebrity author - that usually has a very cold persona associated with it and made her very warm and endearing. And one deserving of our sympathy. That last point is key because through all of the hijinks that the girls get up to, in the end, this is a story about Ryan. One of change and self-acceptance that she largely goes through alone.

L-R: Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah in Universal Pictures' GIRLS TRIP.
Of course Girls Trip also works because it’s funny. The big moments – the moments that will have a sold-out theater of 400 people all laughing hysterically in unison – are crass, but also funny because you’ve never quite seen something like it before. From the girls taking up residence in a hotel room that also serves as a meeting place for old homeless men hooking up with prostitutes, to the girls getting obscenely high on absinthe and having some very inappropriate hallucinations. Considering the genre, it will get compared the most to Bridesmaids, but I couldn’t shake a similarity to Pitch Perfect, mixed in with some comedy stylings of The Hangover.

The girls attended college together and were a very popular clique known as the Flossy Possy, but eventually grew apart from one another. Ryan and Sasha (Queen Latifah) both become successful authors, but ended up in different places. Ryan and her NFL husband push books about having it all while Sasha writes a celebrity gossip website, and the two have had a falling out. Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith) is a divorced, single mom and doesn’t know anything else about life, and Dina (Tiffany Haddish) is the immature one, still partying and celebrating sexually transmitted diseases that are curable like Chlamydia.

L-R: Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith and Tiffany Haddish in Universal Pictures' GIRLS TRIP
A strong aspect of this film is that these women throughout the film will frequently behave like teenagers and then remind themselves that they are adults, and have been adults for awhile. There’s a very enjoyable dichotomy between the adult life choices that Ryan has to make and the consequences-be-damned partying that the girls get into. You will want to be friends with these four funny women.

The movie does transition out of comedy and into a story of friends coming together to help another through a personal crisis. Some will find this cloying, most will find it predictable, nonetheless, Regina Hall very capably leads us through a satisfying film of love, sex, pee, drugs, debauchery, and self-acceptance.
Best of 2017