by Hope Madden
Here’s my guess: The first time you saw the trailer for Girls Trip you thought, didn’t I just see this movie? Isn’t Rough Night this same movie, only whiter?
Well…Girls Trip is a bit raunchier, a bit schmaltzier, with characters a bit more broadly drawn.
You will laugh, though.
Regina Hall stars as Ryan Pierce, an Oprah-style life coach whose perfect marriage is a beacon of “having it all” to her throngs of fans and book buyers. Invited to keynote at Essence Magazine’s New Orleans conference, she sees a chance to reconnect with her three college besties – the Flossy Posse.
Uptight single mom Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith), trashy Dina (Tiffany Haddish) and true friend in a bad spot, Sasha (Queen Latifah) join Ryan for their first wild weekend together in years. Give this mostly veteran cast credit – they take underwritten characters and make them feel like flesh and bone.
Girls Trip bears the glossy look and feel of a Malcolm D. Lee film – enough camaraderie to keep you interested, enough syrup to make you want to brush your teeth. But Lee takes some chances and allows his cast some leeway with this film, and it pays off.
Despite its already tired premise, Lee’s movie takes some of its antics in extreme directions to draw shocked laughter and genuine entertainment.
I don’t mean polite chuckle funny, either. It’s “is that an old man dick?” funny.
Not a single plot point will surprise, and the film is too damn long. Way too long – 30 minutes too long at least. But, between the natural chemistry among the quartet of leads and wild scene stealing from the comically gifted Haddish, Girls Trip offers some fun.
It’s too bad the lessons learned have to be delivered with a sledge hammer blow, but if you’ve ever said, “This place smells like Hennessy and bootie sweat. We’ve found our tribe,” then Girls Trip may be your film.