Released July 21, 2017
Rated R (Crude and Sexual Content, Language, Brief Graphic Nudity, Drug Material)
2 hr. 2 min.
Directed and Produced by Malcolm D. Lee (The Best Man, Barbershop: The Next Cut)
Written by Kenya Barris (Barbershop: The Next Cut, Black-ish), Tracy Oliver (Survivor’s Remorse, Barbershop: The Next Cut), and Erica Rivinoja (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, Trolls)
Cinematography by Greg Gardiner (Men in Black II, Elf)
Music by David Newman (The Nutty Professor, Galaxy Quest)
Edited by Paul Millspaugh (Soul Men, The Best Man Holiday)
Also Produced by Will Packer (Ride Along, Straight Outta Compton)
Starring Regina Hall (Scary Movie, Think Like a Man), Queen Latifah (Chicago, Ice Age 2: The Meltdown), Jada Pinkett Smith (Bad Moms, Gotham), Tiffany Haddish (Meet the Spartans, Keanu), Mike Colter (Zero Dark Thirty, Luke Cage), Larenz Tate (The Postman, Ray), Kate Walsh (The Perks of Being a Wallflower, 13 Reasons Why), Kofi Siriboe (Whiplash, Straight Outta Compton), Lara Grice (The Final Destination, The Big Short), and Deborah Ayorinde (Barbershop: The Next Cut, Luke Cage)
It’s a tale as old as time, one familiar in the movies and reality alike, though maybe in the movies a bit more. Four women met in college and became lifelong friends, but after college, they gradually drifted apart. Ryan (Hall) married an NFL star and became a successful inspirational author. Sasha (Latifah) had high journalistic aspirations but, less gloriously, became a gossip blogger instead. Lisa (Smith) became a nurse and is now a single mom living with her mother. Dina (Haddish) is too fiery, to put it nicely, to settle down doing anything, so she’s more or less a drifter. These four friends once had an incredible sisterly bond, though that bond has been weakened in recent years. When Ryan gets the chance to speak at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, she quickly takes the opportunity to come together with the other three. . . through a good time in New Orleans, of course!
I have heard some critics I follow call Girls Trip the best straightforward comedy since 22 Jump Street, which is more a testament to the extent of the last few years’ comedic dry spell than a credit to Girls Trip‘s quality, which, despite a lame name, is actually a fine flick. However, the movie succeeds as a film almost solely due to the strength of its stars and their chemistry with each other.
The women here are wonderful, both apart and together, even when the movie is predictable, and even when Girls Trip turns into more of an advertisement for the Essence Music Festival than an actual film. Fortunately, the writers aid the ladies’ performances with mostly excellent characters; sharp, dirty dialogue; and deliciously raunchy and hilarious situations. Also a help, the supporting actors are all good too. Yet the rest of the film is rather mediocre.
The direction and script, besides the dialogue and characters, is just decent, competent but somewhat bland. They present us with a predictable plot, a boring first few minutes, and a final act that annoyingly and rigidly adheres to that movie cliché wherein all the characters must fight among themselves and go their separate ways before the climax of the picture, around which they realize just how much they care for each other and reunite. And the ending drags on too long. The pacing stumbles here and there, too, and the cinematography and score are simply serviceable. Still, above all this, the four central actresses seriously elevate Girls Trip and raise it from a pass to a recommendation from me.
Is Girls Trip the best pure comedy since 22 Jump Street? I wouldn’t be so quick to say that, and I didn’t actually like Girls Trip more than Rough Night, though Girls Trip is a more focused and coherent movie. Regardless, Girls Trip is still out in theaters, so go catch it if you haven’t already. It’s really become the surprise hit of 2017, a success it deserves.
I’m going to give Girls Trip a 71%. It’s a lot of fun.
P.S.: I do have one other issue with the movie that I didn’t want to mention in the main part of my review. Without giving away too many spoilers, there is a bit of the story that involves a situation where the encouraged answer is divorce. Now, in this movie’s story, I can understand it, but I really wish we could see a movie where the answer is not divorce. As a happily married man myself, I find it discouraging that divorce is so often encouraged in films like Girls Trip.