Girls Trip is a pleasantly raunchy outing that offers few surprises but plenty of guilty laughs. That’s fitting for a movie about a group of college friends who reunite periodically to recall when their constitutions could handle late hours and when they could consume spirits without periodically wondering if they were properly hydrated.
In the decades since the “Flossy Posse” graduated, Ryan Pierce (Regina Hall) has achieved fame and and bit of fortune writing advice books, particularly one titled You Can Have It All, where she discusses her good fortune and her marriage to a handsome NFL veteran named Stewart (Mike Colter). The two are a fixture on talk shows even though it’s obvious that Stewart appears to consider his marriage vow more of a mild
That hasn’t stopped Essence magazine from asking her to be a keynote speaker in New Orleans, so Ryan invites the rest of the Flossy Posse to join her for one last bash before her big speech.
While the four of them still wear necklaces with the “FP” logo, there is a good reason why they have seen each other less frequently. Sasha Franklin (Queen Latifah) was once a respected journalist, but she now toils on her own TMZ knockoff with sordid tales of celebrity foibles. The site may keep her in the game, but her scoops don’t get enough hits to pay off her car or her housing bills. She gets wind of Stewart’s roving eyes and debates whether to make click bait out of him.
Dina (Tiffany Haddish) has similar career problems, but her happy-go-lucky manner implies that leaping from job to job is standard operating procedure for her. She might not stay at any particular office for too long because she has a habit of assaulting co-workers who cross her while using language that would make Seth Rogen wince. Her outbursts and gleefully decadent manner make her more entertaining than dangerous, and her loyalty to her friends enables them to forgive her for potentially attracting attention from law enforcement.
Haddish makes what could have been an irritating role and ends up owning the film. She can play an uninhibited character without ever giving viewers a sense she’s winking at them.
Lisa Cooper (Jada Pinkett Smith), on the other hand, is a single mom who goes about her house in hospital scrubs and carries a variety of disinfectants wherever she goes. Her obsession with health threatens to drive everyone in the Flossy Posse as crazy with paranoia as she is.
Screenwriters Kenya Barris and Tracy Oliver (Barbershop: The Next Cut) seem to be following a gross-out comedy template, but the two come up with just enough naughty gags to make the familiar journey work. They tweak familiar setups just enough so that they don’t feel as if they’ve passed their expiration date.
In some ways, Malcolm D. Lee (The Best Man) seems more tour guide than director.
That’s not a bad thing. He knows how to treat viewers to the sights of the Crescent City (which he rightly treats as more than a backdrop) and some cringe-inducing physical humor without getting them lost in mean-spiritedness. There are legions of familiar music luminaries like Sean Combs and Mariah Carey playing themselves, and Lee gives them just enough time to make the party scenes convincing but doesn’t clutter the narrative with excessive name dropping.
If Lee’s tone is just right, his pacing needs a little work. At just over two hours, Girls Trip stalls toward the end.
Dina (Tiffany Haddish) is an unrepentant party chick who hasn’t succumbed to the domestic tranquility that has afflicted her old college friends in Girls Trip.
Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Dina (Tiffany Haddish) are lifelong friends who travel to New Orleans to rekindle their sisterhood and rediscover their wild sides in Girls Trip.