Review: Girls Trip

Girls Trip is similar to a few recent comedies: A group of lifelong friends get together for a party weekend and hijinxs ensue (sound familiar). What sets the story apart – it’s an R-rated comedy about four black women headed to Essence Music Festival.

Ryan (Regina Hall) is a successful author/media mogul on the rising, Sasha (Queen Latifah) is a gossip blogger, and Lisa (Jada Pinket-Smith) is a divorced mother of two who hasn’t dated in a while. Dina (Tiffany Haddish) is the crazy carefree friend that’s down to do anything, anywhere. Together, they’re known as the Flossy Posse. When Ryan is asked to be a keynote speaker at Essence Music Festival, the Flossy Posse decides rekindle some of their old fun, so they head down to New Orleans.

The posse is at the festival for fun; Ryan and her husband, Stuart (Luke Cage’s Mike Colter), are in the midst of landing a lucrative deal for their own show. The deal is set to be signed at the festival after Ryan and Stuart meet with the executives.

The trailers make Girls Trip look like a run-of-the-mill comedy. However there are at least six laugh-out-loud moments that can’t be shown because of the R –rating. Not chuckles, serious laughs from the gut. The kind of laughing that gives you a headache. And this is a movie that uses every inch of its R-rating (no pun intended).

This isn’t a comedy silly story and a few funny comedic moments. It’s consistently funny from the opening credits to the last frame. A lot of the comedic success is due to the film’s breakout star Tiffany Haddish. She’s known for her role on The Carmichael Show and Keanu, but people have never seen her like this.  Haddish is the unanimous MVP of the film. She’s funny during the funny moments but funniest during the film’s more serious/touching moments. Her jokes come in like haymakers when you least expect it and will knock you to the floor. The most impressive part of Haddish’s performance is her ability to show incredible comedic range – she has some self-deprecating humor, dry humor, malicious humor, healing humor, an infectious laugh, and jokes that will make you laugh until you have tears in your eyes. She’s a already a star and needs her own vehicle to show the world just how funny she can be.

There is plenty of R-rated humor. The “grapefruit” scene and its callback is one of the best comedic bits in years. It’s well timmed, funny, and completely over-the-top. It’s also exactly the kind of humor you want in a film like this.

Queen Sugar’s Kofi Siriboe plays Lisa’s love interest Malik aka the film’s eye candy. The 23 year old actor has done steady work for years, but is sure to be a name in a lot of households after this performance. Kofi doesn’t have much onscreen dialogue but he has the onscreen presence of a seasoned actor.

Despite the familiar story structure or the predictable plot, the film stays afloat by being consistently funny for 2 hours – that’s not an easy thing to do (see: Night, Rough). From the broad physical jokes to the quick comedic jabs, they never miss a beat. Every joke hit when it was supposed to and how it was supposed to. There’s a key message in the film about friendship that’s very heartwarming, but the story never gets too weighed down trying to be anything more than a gut-busting comedy.

Girls Trip is  the funniest film of the year. It’s more than just foul-mouthed fun, it’s a love letter to black women from writers Kenya Barris and Tracy Oliver saying ‘We love and appreciate all types of black women.’ The personalities of the four main characters aren’t just movie tropes; they represent the different types of black women who never get portrayed in film. Not only are they portrayed, they’re celebrated for two hours. It showcases black women as a diverse group of women with different shapes, sizes, and talents. It’s refreshing to see this many talented black women onscreen in a film that’s not about slavery or a Civil Rights story – it’s a modern story that depicts the type of women we cross paths with everyday.

Girls Trip is one of the few comedies that demands to be seen and demands a sequel. Hopefully the Flossy Posse rides again very soon.

Grade: B+