Monday, October 2, 2017

Review of GIRLS TRIP: Raunchy with Redemption

October 1, 2017

It had been six years since "Bridesmaids" set the bar for raunchy female buddy comedies. This year, there have been two such films for our consideration. The first one "Rough Night" (MY REVIEW) had rough sailing from the critics and the audiences. However, this second one "Girls Trip" had a more positive reaction, not only from critics but also from the box office returns.

There is no wedding in this one for a change, just a long-delayed reunion getaway for a gang of four close college friends who call themselves "The Flossy Posse" who had not seen each other for five years. Flossy is an urban word that means glamorously stylish, and these four ladies are confidently just that. 

The posse's big weekend trip to New Orleans is organized by Ryan Pierce, a successful author of a self-help book about to break into television, who had been invited to deliver the keynote address at the Essence Music Festival. Sasha Franklin is now a celebrity gossip blogger. Lisa Cooper is a divorced single mother and nurse. And then, there is Dina (no last name given), the loudest, wildest, most abrasive, and most unrestrained friend of them all. 

Like all movies in this raunchy category, there are bound to be some embarrassing debauched incidents brought about by some illicit substance. This time around it is an overdose of absinthe that causes the girls to go over-the-top crazy, imagining several outrageous hallucinations, that conclude in a dance showdown and a catfight. This movie also describes a crazy sex tip involving a grapefruit which makes me wince in pain just listening to it being described. Liking these types of jokes are a matter of personal taste.

Casting wise, it was obvious that Queen Latifah (as Sasha) and Jada Pinkett Smith (as Lisa) were much older than Regina Hall (as Ryan) and Tiffany Haddish (as Dina). Nevertheless the four ladies hit it off very realistically as closely-knit BFF girlfriends. The central character of the ensemble went to Hall, and the bulk of the hardcore comedy went to Haddish. The more senior stars Latifah and Smith generously gave Hall and Haddish their ample room to shine. 

Director Malcolm D. Lee's experience with ensemble buddy films, like "The Best Man" (1999), "The Best Man Holiday" (2013) and "Barbershop:The Next Cut" (2016), shows. Being set in a music festival, the musical soundtrack of this film is scorching hot, including live clips of New Edition, Mariah Carey and P. Diddy in concert. 

There is usually a lesson about the grace of true friendship in these films, and there is one in this as well, as you may have predicted. However, in a departure from the frivolous misadventures it churned out one after the other, "Girls Trip" also offers a valuable lesson of empowerment for females in abusive relationships, especially for African American women, but this lesson is not only for them. 7/10. 

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