“Girls Trip” a hi­lar­i­ous des­ti­na­tion

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Sandy Co­hen Michele K. Short, Uni­ver­sal Pic­tures

★★★¼ Com­edy. Rated R. 122 min­utes.

Get ready to know the name Tif­fany Had­dish. If there were such a thing as Com­edy Os­cars, she would win for “Girls Trip .”

Like Melissa McCarthy in “Brides­maids,” Had­dish steals this film from her big-name co-stars: Queen Lat­i­fah, Regina Hall and Jada Pin­kett Smith. All four ac­tresses have shin­ing mo­ments of com­edy and heart in di­rec­tor Mal­colm D. Lee’s ode to fe­male friend­ships, thanks to the win­ning script by Kenya Bar­ris (“black-ish”) and Tracy Oliver (“Bar­ber­shop: The Next Cut”), but Had­dish emerges as the most mem­o­rable. She has a scene with a grape­fruit that will go down in the an­nals of hi­lar­i­ous movie mo­ments.

The “Girls Trip” here is to the Essence Fes­ti­val in New Or­leans. A group of friends who called them­selves the Flossy Posse back in col­lege in the ’90s travel there for a lon­gawaited re­union af­ter one of their mem­bers, self-help guru Ryan (Hall), is in­vited to give the fes­ti­val’s keynote speech. She’s joined by her long­time besties: Jour­nal­ist Sasha (Lat­i­fah), who runs a celebrity-gos­sip web­site; Lisa (Pin­kett Smith), an up­tight, di­vorced nurse with two young chil­dren, and brash, out­spo­ken Dina (Had­dish), who hasn’t stopped par­ty­ing since grad­u­a­tion.

Ryan and her re­tired foot­ball star hus­band Ste­wart (Mike Coulter) have billed them­selves as the cou­ple that has it all, and they have a lot rid­ing on her Essence ap­pear­ance: They’re poised to sign a ma­jor cor­po­rate con­tract at the fes­ti­val that would bring them Oprahlevel suc­cess. Their agent (Kate Walsh), who in­sists on awk­wardly us­ing street slang, warns Ryan against get­ting too “turned” over her girls’ week­end, lest she jeop­ar­dize the deal.

The posse’s trou­ble be­gins when Sasha re­ceives a pa­parazzi pic­ture of Ste­wart in a com­pro­mis­ing po­si­tion. Could it be the per­fect cou­ple isn’t so per­fect af­ter all? What about their lu­cra­tive con­tract?

The women in “Girls Trip” are so dis­tinct and well-drawn, they’re uni­ver­sally re­lat­able. Ev­ery­one has a wild friend they wish was like Dina or one as tightly wound as Lisa. Many of us know people so driven they might com­pro­mise their per­sonal stan­dards to achieve more pub­lic goals.

If only we were all as glam­orous as Sasha, who con­sis­tently rocks in­cred­i­ble hair­dos, as com­posed as Ryan or as ri­otous as Dina, who’s like Id per­son­i­fied. Her enu­mer­a­tion of what she plans to do to Ste­wart in re­venge for his scan­dalous photo is an­other scene-steal­ing mo­ment. Her plans are so graphic, they can’t be printed here. The Flossy Posse is #friend­ship­goals.

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