Jacob Richardson | 6/09/2017
It may start off slow, and be dragged down by a rote and routine plot, but despite itself Girls Trip will have you laughing out loud for much of its duration.
Girls Trip follows, predominantly, Ryan Pierce (Regina Hall) - an Oprah-lite celebrity pushing the release of her new book, “You Can Have It All”. She certainly appears to have it all, with a hunky ex-footballer husband (Mike Colter), successful novel and pending television show. Internally, however, she struggles with the interminable distance between her and her college friends, the Flossy Posse. When she is invited to speak at a conference in New Orleans, she jumps at the chance to get the gang back together, bringing along the motherly Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith), gossip blogger Sasha (Queen Latifah) and foul-mouthed, outrageous Dina (Tiffany Haddish). Once they get there, friendships are tested, copious amounts of alcohol and hallucinogens are consumed, and relationship secrets are revealed.
The film starts amid a mess of cliches and voiceover, with some of the most cringeworthy dialogue of the year and flashbacks to the college aged quartet (despite them all looking tremendously elderly for college students). It’s an introduction that will leave you glancing at the exit door to the cinema, but if you hang in there you’ll be pleasantly surprised. That’s because once the movie touches down in New Orleans, the fun is ramped up to 10 and you’re be laughing for the remainder of the picture.
Ryan is our straight man with the fewest laughs, but while Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah perform admirably and get their fair share of gags, it is the absolutely hysterical Tiffany Haddish that steals the show. She is outrageous, abrasive and utterly engaging as the jobless Dina, delivering every memorable line from the film. Whether it is the violent way she deals with a banana, her purchase of centuries old absinthe or her dancing with P. Diddy, she always finds a way to delight. Even when the friends, inevitably, fall apart, her savage takedown of Ryan, Sasha and Lisa is absolutely laugh-inducing.
From a narrative perspective the film is nothing special, retreading a lot of the same ground as films like The Hangover or even this year’s Rough Night, but it is in the dynamic between these four friends that the success of Girls Trip lies, because even though the film is bookended by cliche ridden drivel, you’ll find yourself utterly enthralled by the back and forth between these characters. It is raunchy, sometimes inaccessible humour, but it’s enjoyable in the extreme.
Girls Trip is a film you’ve seen before, but it’s also one that will have you laughing out loud more than you’ll care to admit, with strong central relationships and a standout performance from Tiffany Haddish.