MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Girls Trip’ is a film nearly impossible to dislike

With constant hilarity, touching drama and a star-making performance from Tiffany Haddish, this black female-led comedy is one of the best of the year

| July 19, 2017

Like “Rough Night” a little over a month ago, I love movies about girlfriends, because like it’s supposed to, I love to sit back and pretend what me and my girlfriends would do in the same situations. Luckily for the girls in “Girls Trip,” they don’t have a dead stripper to deal with in their trip like the girls in “Rough Night” did, but that doesn’t make their outing any less ridiculous. “Girls Trip” has been gaining a lot of traction recently thanks to its funny trailers, likable cast and great reviews pouring in from critics and audiences alike. This is a rare comedy that is pleasing to both professionals and casual movie goers alike.

And for good reason, as “Girls Trip” is a film nearly impossible to dislike, and definitely one of the funniest movies of the year.

Ryan Pierce (Regina Hall) is a successful self-help author and lifestyle coach with her seemingly perfect husband, Stewart (Mike Colter). When asked to deliver the keynote address at the Essence Fest in New Orleans, Ryan sees this as a wonderful chance to reunite her old friends from college they called the Flossy Posse, consisting of gossip-columnist Sasha (Queen Latifah), prudish Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith) and loudmouth Dina (Tiffany Haddish). Once reunited, the girls experience everything great they remember about being with one another, including some hardships that come along the way to test their bonds of sisterhood forever.

For a movie about a group of likable, personable friends, “Girls Trip” couldn’t have gotten it better in its casting than what it has here. Hall is the dramatic backbone of the film and really carries much of the heavier material “Girls Trip” has to offer, but still delivers a lot of laughs. Latifah also delivers a wonderful amount of laughs (including an absolutely hilarious sequence involving a lamp and William Levy), proving she still has the chops after all these years. The most surprising aspect of “Girls Trip” is just how funny Pinkett Smith is. It’s easy to forget that the mother of Willow and Jaden Smith once delivered laughs on the big screen, and her character of Lisa lets her show both the conservative and frivolous sides of her comedic timing wonderfully. But as wonderful as these three women are, it’s the relatively unknown Haddish who steals the entire show with her loud, energetic and absolutely uproarious performance as Dina. This is an absolutely star-making performance, leaving audience members wondering how they’ve never heard of her before, and leaving them excited to see what she has in store. Haddish is funny as hell and made everything in “Girls Trip” even greater.

Directed by Malcolm D. Lee, Lee proves himself to be one of the better filmmakers in comedy nowadays, with films like “Barbershop: The Next Cut” and “The Best Man Holiday” on top of “Girls Trip” heading his repertoire, it almost makes you forget that he directed “Scary Movie V.” But Lee really knows how to work all four of these women into getting the most laughs out of the material. Arguably, “Girls Trip” greatly differs from something like “Rough Night” in its humor, which is much cruder and ruder than anything “Rough Night” tried to do. This is far more of “The Hangover” than it is “Sex and the City,” and that fearlessness and middle-finger-in-the-air attitude it what makes “Girls Trip” so completely batshit raucous. With a cast like this, I would hope for nothing less.

“Girls Trip” is also quite touching as well. Does the film cling to formula quite often? Sure, but the way in which this entire cast sells it makes it buyable and really emotional when things do go south near the end of the film. This is a film that’s as in touch with its heart as it is with its funny bone, and I really appreciated the balance that Lee and the cast struck with it.

“Girls Trip” is a film bet suited for a girls night out, with a big, rowdy audience. It always makes films seemingly funnier when the audience around you is into what the film is selling too, which my screening audience brought in spades. This is a film about having a good time, and I know that this film is made for a good time in the audience. This is a film that will leave a smile on your face for hours, and sharing this experience with people who also are smiling from ear-t0-ear makes it all the more fun.

“Girls Trip” is a film that doesn’t need much explanation. It’s rude, crude, dirty, profane, sweet, sexy and absolutely hilarious. The film is sold completely on its accomplished cast alone, but its moreso held up by the unknown part of its cast in the joy that is Haddish and her performance as Dina. This character made me laugh in the same way that Melissa McCarthy’s Megan made me laugh the first time I saw “Bridesmaids,” which is no small feat. Celebrating everything beautiful that black womanhood has to offer, it’s no secret that I, as a white male, am not the target audience for “Girls Trip,” but this is a film that is funny for all colors, shapes, sizes and backgrounds, as long as you’re willing to settle down with a nasty, dirty, crude film, there’s something in “Girls Trip” that is going to make you cackle, and probably multiple times for that matter.

4/5

Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

Directed by: Malcolm D. Lee
Starring: Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, Larenz Tate, Mike Colter, Kate Walsh, with Jada Pinkett Smith, and Queen Latifah.
Runtime: 122 minutes
Rating: R for crude and sexual content throughout, pervasive language, brief graphic nudity and drug material.

Universal Pictures presents, in association with Perfect World Pictures, a Will Packer Productions production, a Malcolm D. Lee film, “Girls Trip”

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Category:Arts and Entertainment, Film

Hunter Heilman

Hunter is the current editor-in-chief for The Niner Times. He is a senior Communications major who wishes he were a dog and wants to pet your dog if you have one. Hunter has been a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA) since August 2015. Hunter has been the editor-in-chief since May 2016. Please do not hesitate to shoot him an e-mail at editor@ninertimes.com for any questions or concerns and he’ll be sure to get back to you ASAP.

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Hunter Heilman

Hunter is the current editor-in-chief for The Niner Times. He is a senior Communications major who wishes he were a dog and wants to pet your dog if you have one. Hunter has been a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA) since August 2015. Hunter has been the editor-in-chief since May 2016. Please do not hesitate to shoot him an e-mail at editor@ninertimes.com for any questions or concerns and he’ll be sure to get back to you ASAP.

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