“Girls Trip” a hilarious destination
★★★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.