Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Movie Review: "Girls Trip" (2017)

Director: Malcolm D. Lee
Year: 2017
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 2 minutes

A group of old college friends gets together for the first time in five years for a weekend in New Orleans.

"Girls Trip" is a comedy directed by Malcolm D. Lee, who has helmed films like "The Best Man," "The Best Man Holiday," and "Barbershop: The Next Cut." It stars Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Tiffany Haddish as college friends Ryan, Sasha, Lisa, and Dina, who call themselves the 'Flossy Posse.' The group is getting together for the first time in five years for a weekend in New Orleans. The women are looking to have a good time in every way imaginable. All expenses are paid by Ryan, who is going to be the keynote speaker at the Essence Music Festival. She is attending the event with her husband Stewart, played by Mike Colter. The two are looking to sign a lucrative Martha Stewart-type big box store deal as the faces of people who have  it all: a perfect marriage and a happy life, though their relationship isn't as perfect as it seems on the surface. Hilarity, drama, and Instagram models ensue.

Movies like this are nothing new. Tons of films with a similar setup exist in the world. Friends always need to get together and let loose, so thank god for places like Las Vegas and New Orleans. This movie is made in the tradition of other pictures like "The Hangover," "Bridesmaids," and to a lesser extent, last month's "Rough Night," which actually shares an extremely similar premise, minus the pesky murder thing.

Ensemble group comedies like "Girls Trip" heavily rely on the dynamic between their core actors in order to be successful. It's a wonderful thing these four women have fantastic chemistry with one another. We truly believe they could be friends in real life. This is what "Rough Night" lacked, a cohesive group of friends getting together despite their busy lives and personal dramas. Hall, Latifah, Smith, and Haddish all play extremely well off of each other and get some good banter going early in the movie. It's exactly like what happens when we get together with our friends: it's as if no time has passed at all. Their friendship picks up right where it left off as well, and the audience is thrown in the middle of the craziness.

We laughed a lot during this film, a lot more than we expected to considering the caliber of comedies 2017 has given us. One of the biggest standouts is Tiffany Haddish, whose enthusiasm and raucous comedy is infectious and amusing. Her character Dina is the wildest of this group of friends, and she seems up for pretty much anything at any time. This leads the ladies into tons of raucous situations full of entertainment. Some of the gags Haddish has to perform are downright outrageous, and our entire audience erupted in humongous bouts of laughter every time she was on screen. Haddish hasn't been in the acting game very long, but she has already been a hell of a lot funnier than several well-established comedians have been in their entire careers. She was one of the best parts of "Keanu," and now she can add this movie to her success pile.

In many ways, "Girls Trip" is a formulaic comedy. It's one we've seen executed many times before. There are a couple instances of overdone theatrics, but these moments aren't so bad that they bring the entire picture down as a result. All in all, the connections between the characters are solid, the entire thing made us laugh from start to finish, and it has believable characters doing raunchy, vulgar, gross things to keep the audience entertained. We laughed more during "Girls Trip" than we have during any other mainstream movie this year, which is the most important thing for us when we are watching comedies. The melodrama does get to be a bit much, but these instances are able to even out the grapefruit and booty hole jokes.

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: ~7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ~88%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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