Girls Trip is raunchy yet re­fresh­ingly fun

The Hamilton Spectator - - A&E - KATIE WALSH

Per­fect­ing the raunchy, randy, fe­maledriven com­edy can be a tall or­der. “Brides­maids” showed it could be done, though such suc­cesses can be few and far be­tween.

“Girls Trip” proves to be the heir ap­par­ent to “Brides­maids,” a film about fe­male friend­ship that nails the com­edy, the bold­ness and the heart. There’s no need for high con­cepts or out­landish premises here; all that’s nec­es­sary is four long­time best friends and a city built for sin.

“The Best Man” and “The Best Man Hol­i­day” di­rec­tor Mal­colm D. Lee di­rects “Girls Trip,” and he’s clearly a man com­fort­able nav­i­gat­ing an en­sem­ble project. “Black-ish” writer Kenya Bar­ris cowrote the script along­side three fe­male writ­ers, Karen McCul­lah, Tracy Oliver and Erica Rivi­noja.

That fem­i­nine voice and in­flu­ence comes through loud and clear in the ban­ter among the friend group knows as the “Flossy Posse” (they even have match­ing neck­laces).

Au­thor and Oprah-in-train­ing Ryan (Regina Hall) has in­vited her girl crew along for a trip to Essence Fest in New Or­leans, where she’s giv­ing a key­note speech and tak­ing meet­ings to launch her brand with her hus­band and busi­ness part­ner, Ste­wart (Mike Colter).

Mak­ing up the Flossy Posse are Jada Pin­kett Smith as wor­ry­wart mom Lisa, Queen Lat­i­fah as gos­sip blog­ger Sasha (yes, there is a great “Set It Off ” ref­er­ence), and round­ing out the crew is lesser­known co­me­dian and ac­tress Tif­fany Had­dish, who runs away with “Girls Trip” in a break­out per­for­mance as the wildly funny, com­pletely un­cen­sored and of­ten un­hinged Dina.

In the party at­mos­phere of New Or­leans, Ryan’s per­fectly main­tained im­age and com­po­sure starts to come loose at the seams, es­pe­cially when the posse dis­cov­ers pho­tos of Ste­wart step­ping out on her with a sul­try In­sta­gram model (Deb­o­rah Ay­orinde). It’s not just the in­fi­delity, but the threat to her busi­ness ven­tures that causes Ryan to sweep it un­der the rug. Mean­while, Lisa’s try­ing to get her groove back with a col­lege kid (Kofi Siri­boe), Sasha’s fi­nances are in sham­bles, and Dina’s just try­ing to avoid any more run-ins with ho­tel se­cu­rity.

All the women turn in funny per­for­mances — it’s great to see Pin­kett Smith cut loose, and the charm­ing and ra­di­ant Hall dis­plays a fac­ulty for phys­i­cal com­edy — but this is Had­dish’s movie, and will make her a star. It’s clear from the mo­ment she hits the screen, glee­fully shar­ing her tips for smug­gling con­tra­band onto a plane, and the epic dance bat­tle where she owns the floor clad in a skin-tight tie-dyed jump­suit and pur­ple wig ce­ments the fact.

The hi­jinks of “Girls Trip” are of the brash, bawdy and boozy va­ri­ety, re­plete with X-rated dis­cus­sions about sex and anatomy. Th­ese are women who like to have fun with their sex­u­al­ity, don’t take it too se­ri­ously, own it, and are unashamed about their de­sires.

“Girls Night” ac­knowl­edges that women con­tain mul­ti­tudes and re­flects that in its abil­ity to bal­ance potty hu­mour with heart­felt fe­male em­pow­er­ment. Th­ese el­e­ments never clash be­cause the char­ac­ters are fully formed in­di­vid­u­als, real peo­ple with real re­la­tion­ships and real prob­lems.

It’s a re­fresh­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tion, but it doesn’t sac­ri­fice the laughs or the gen­uine love they have for their gal pals. The girls of “Girls Trip” prove that women can be many things: pow­er­ful, naughty, gross, hi­lar­i­ous and sexy, while still lift­ing each other up.

MICHELE K. SHORT, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Regina Hall, left, Jada Pin­kett Smith, Queen Lat­i­fah and Tif­fany Had­dish in a scene from the com­edy “Girls Trip.”

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