GIRLS TRIP (R16, 122 MINS), DIRECTED BY MALCOLM D LEE,
You know the story: Four old school friends reunite for a weekend away.
Ryan, Sasha, Dina and Lisa were once the closest of friends; a girl gang of party crashing hellraisers and heartbreakers.
But, they’ve drifted apart as the demands of marriages, children and careers spun them off into different orbits.
Super-successful Ryan has a speaking gig at the Essence music festival. She is invited to bring an entourage for a weekend of great hip-hop and R’n’B. Ryan rounds up the rest of the ‘‘Flossy Posse’’ and the four women, now all staring down middle-age, hit New Orleans like a hurricane.
Girls Trip is The Hangover, Bridesmaids and a dozen lesser films right down to its chassis. It is also, hands down, the funniest, filthiest and one of the most likeable films of 2017.
Girls Trip is a flat-out and hellaciously funny assault on a whole truck load of assumptions about gender and race, wearing the guise of very good buddy movie.
As the group – played by Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, Jada PinkettSmith and Tiffany Haddish – drink, swear, party, brawl and trip over a few life lessons, they also chuck back in our face any preconceptions we might have had about cross-over black cinema needing to be po-faced or overtly issue-based.
Girls Trip holds up a wellraised and well-overdue middle finger to every white comedian and performer who has imitated and appropriated the tropes and language of black American culture. And it reminds us, forcefully and hilariously, that great comedy nearly always comes from a place of great anger and insecurity.
Newcomer Tiffany Haddish in particular strips the paint off the walls in a couple of scenes. Up against her far better-known and more-established co-stars, Haddish threatens to run off with every scene she’s in. In a film full of nearhousehold names, it’s the newbie who slays the old guard, again.
Girls Trip is everything you want out of an R16 buddy-reunion movie. It is truly funny, touching when it needs to be, relentlessly filthy and gleefully puerile at times. But it is also something more. There is a point being made here about the reclamation and normalisation of black voices and women’s voices within a genre that has been the preserve of the ‘‘dudes’’ for far too long.
I said about Bridesmaids that it was more than just a wildly successful film, it was a modestly triumphant one. The same applies to Girls Trip I reckon, but even more so. – Graeme Tuckett