Girls Trip (2017)

7:08 AM

You'll be glad you came. 
 Girls Trip is directed by Malcolm D. Lee (The Best Man Holiday, Scary Movie 5) and stars Regina Hall (Scary Movie, Law Abiding Citizen), Queen Latifah (Hairspray, Chicago), Jada Pinkett Smith (Bad Moms, Gotham) and Tiffany Haddish (Keanu, All Between Us). "When four lifelong friends travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival, sisterhoods are rekindled, wild sides are rediscovered, and there's enough dancing, drinking, brawling, and romancing to make the Big Easy blush". Best night ever? or will it be forgotten by the morning?

Girls Trip has been circulating quite rapidly across social media- the marketing campaign surely has been effective. The best thing about the film is that it is reliable and achieves exactly what it sets out to do. Girls Trip is funny, feel-good entertainment that is going to undoubtedly please its target audience. Yes, the film lacks originality and is pretty formulaic but there is a deeper and darker tone beneath the surface of this chick flick that does help it to stand out. Girls Trip is an all-inclusive, all-expenses paid for trip to a great time.

When the film began, I was worried. The jokes weren't landing as they were intended to and many of them seemed quite derivative and typical. However, as the film went on, the laughs got much bigger and louder. Girls Trip may just be the funniest film I've seen all year. Admittedly, the jokes are quite vulgar and crude but they fit with these characters and the situation they are in. Expect lots of sex jokes, including nudity - this is a full board holiday! There are smart one-liners as well as the crass humour- the balance is good. I also liked how the film addresses cultural appropriation, but in a light-hearted way. Ryan (Regina Hall) politely asks her manager, Elizabeth (Kate Walsh), to stop talking to her in a certain way and adopting inappropriate phrases because of Ryan's skin colour. The film was by no means preaching to its audience, it just provided some subtle commentary on how some things may be causing offence without others realising it. Girls Trip has some priceless jokes and is wholly enjoyable.

The plot for Girls Trip is very by the numbers, predictable and cliche. However, that is to be expected with a film like this- there really isn't much a writer could do to turn a 'girls trip' plot into something more. This doesn't mean that the film wasn't fun or enjoyable- some of the more inventive jokes really helped in making Girls Trip more than just your average chick-flick. The writers did add some depth and deeper themes to the film. There is a sub-plot surrounding Ryan and the fact that her partner is cheating on her. However, Ryan has been aware of this for a long time and is simply accepting and dealing with it. This is obviously frustrating at first but also makes Ryan's character arc even more satisfying. I love films with strong and empowered female characters- Girls Trip has four of them. However, Ryan's monologue at the end was quite touching and powerful and I think it would speak to anyone. I would have liked to have seen more development of the groups friendship prior to their trip however, I was still able to feel proud and happy for them at the end which suggests the writers did a good enough job of developing their friendship- I believed it. The film also has some interesting commentary on the world of paparazzi and celebrity, especially the likes of Perez Hilton and Wendy Williams. Sasha (Queen Latifah) has a similar career to this and her arc is also quite touching. It should remind us all that celebrities are ultimately humans too.

The cast are the heart and soul of Girls Trip. The four stars have great chemistry and their bonds are so believable, I was convinced they are a real group of friends outside of this film. As for their acting chops, the film really didn't require too much but they all looked like they were having a tonne of fun and all came across very likeable. The character of Ryan probably demanded the most skilful acting and Regina Hall was definitely able to deliver. Tiffany Haddish as Dina elicited the biggest laughs and she played the role brilliantly- she couldn't have done much better. Queen Latifah was also very good. Her character, Sasha, was one of the more complex ones and I thought she did great. Finally, Jada Pinkett Smith. It's weird because Smith was actually in a very similar film this time last year, Bad Moms and it almost seems like Smith took pointers from Kristen Bell because she has a very similar character and performance to Bell in Bad Moms. She's the mum who doesn't get out much and is experiencing everything from quite a naive perspective. Smith was funny but I can't help think she was better in the more serious/catty role. Some of the supporting characters weren't the best but the four ladies were definitely the stars of this film. As long as they were having fun, we as an audience were having fun.

Where Girls Trip stumbles is the production design, set design and the overall feel of the film. The film's budget (understandably) isn't huge and it really shows. Some of the sets did not look real at all and the film had a very TV feel to it. In a time where trips to the cinema are increasingly becoming more and more expensive, audiences are going to have to really pick what they spend their money on and surely something they could see on the TV isn't something they would pay a cinema ticket for. However, Girls Trip and similar flick, Bad Moms have been performing solidly at the box office so as long as the genre doesn't become oversaturated, films like this could be just fine. The cheaper production value doesn't make this film awful by any means, it just detrimental its overall feel slightly. Films like Bridesmaids, Pitch Perfect and The Hangover go all out, I think Girls Trip could easily have afforded to also.

What Girls Trip lacks in originality, predictability, it makes up for in laughs because this is one incredibly funny film- possibly the funniest of the year. Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and Tiffany Haddish are clearly having the time of their lives and I really believed their friendship. Girls Trip also has some surprisingly deeper undertones and tackles issues surrounding self-worth and celebrity culture. This is the perfect film to stream and watch later down the line but if you're desperate for a night out and want to feel good, Girls Trip is for you. Holidays tend to make you feel good, happy, relaxed, uplifted and repaired and funny enough, Girls Trip may just have the same effect.

68
/100

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