Girls Trip (2017) ☆☆☆(3/4): When four African American ladies go wild

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Quite willing to be broad and excessive, “Girls Trip” amused and tickled me. While it sometimes goes too far for laughs in my inconsequential opinion, the movie is mostly funny and hilarious as cheerfully rolling with its four African American heroines who surely go wild for their fun and excitement of lifetime, and I appreciate its many inspired comic moments which still bring me some smile and chuckle.

During the opening scene, we are told about when its four heroines, Ryan (Regina Hall), Sasha (Queen Latifah), Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith), and Dina (Tiffany Haddish), were young and wild during their college years. During that time, they were inseparable as “The Flossy Posses”, but then they went each own way after their graduation, and their supposedly strong friendship has weakened year by year even though they still meet and correspond with each other from time to time.

When they graduated together, everything looked bright and hopeful for all of them, but life turns out to be not that good for some of them. While Ryan becomes a successful lifestyle guru and bestselling author, Sasha has worked as an Internet gossip reporter since she left her position in Time Magazine, and Lisa has been a divorced mom of two children although she was once the wildest members of the bunch. In case of Dina, she recently loses her current job thanks to her irrepressible impulsiveness, and there is a small funny scene where she remains quite vivacious as your typical happy-go-lucky lady while rather oblivious to what her boss has just said to her.

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When she is invited as the keynote speaker to the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, Ryan sees a good chance for solidifying her friendship with her three friends, so she invites them all, and they do not hesitate at all to grab this fantastic opportunity. During next three days, there will be a lot of fun and excitement for them, and they are already in a pretty good mood when they on a plane to New Orleans.

However, not so surprisingly, there comes a trouble not long after they arrive in New Orleans. Through her gossip source, Sasha comes to learn that Ryan’s husband Stewart (Mike Colter), who has been her model husband and business partner in public, has had an affair with some other woman. This is definitely going to affect Ryan and Stewart’s lucrative business deal if it is exposed in public, but, though this is not the first time he disappoints her, Ryan chooses to stick to him because, well, she is afraid of her public image and position getting ruined.

Anyway, Ryan’s friends stand by her as respecting her choice, and the movie gives us plenty of raunchy but humorous moments as they go here and there around New Orleans. There is an uproarious scene featuring an epic moment of public urination, and then there is an absurd moment when Ryan indirectly expresses her anger toward her husband in front of many people via chopping and smashing, what do you know, sausage, and then there is a loony sequence caused by a bottle of very special absinthe which Dina bought from a street vendor.

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Although its story eventually becomes predictable as our ladies come into conflict with each other over their personal matters including Ryan’s marriage problem and Sasha’s longtime grudge toward Ryan, the movie maintains its comic momentum even during this part, and its four lead actresses ably support their movie through their undeniable chemistry on the screen. Right from their first scene, they instantly establish their characters’ long relationship, and they also did a good job of balancing their performances between humor and drama. As they bounce from one funny scene to another with their brilliant comic timing, they bring honesty and sincerity to their respective characters, and that is the main reason why the obligatory big dramatic scene later in the movie works.

Equipped with each own presence and personality, Reginal Hall, Queen Latifah, and Jada Pinkett Smith are as funny and engaging as we can expect from these three wonderful actresses, but I must say that the best performance in the film comes from Tiffany Haddish, who, considering what she demonstrates here in the movie, will probably advance further during next several years. Her character could be quite jarring and annoying, but Haddish presents her character as a force of nature to be reckoned with, and she is particularly hilarious when she demonstrates a rather bizarre sexual act with two different tropical fruits. Although I cringed a bit while watching that scene, I must admit that I also could not help but amused thanks to Haddish’s enthusiastic acting, and I was amused again when that scene later led to another funny scene.

While it is a little too long and some of its supporting characters are more or less than thin caricatures or perfunctory plot devices, “Girls Trip” is still funny enough to hold our attention during its 2-hour running time, and director Malcolm D. Lee, who is a cousin of Spike Lee and made several notable comedy films such as “The Best Man” (1999), “Soul Men” (2008), “The Best Man Holiday” (2013), brings some authentic local atmosphere to his film through using various notable locations in New Orleans. This is surely another example showing that girls can go as wild as boys, and I assure you that you will enjoy it a lot if you are willing to go along with its spirited raunchiness.

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