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:: Girls Trip

Comedies aimed at a female audience have proven to be very popular at the box office over the past few years. Some, like Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect have been on song (excuse the pun) and worked wonderfully well. Then came Rough Night, the film that Hollywood hoped would be a female version of The Hangover, but it flops badly. Following on with that same goal we now have Girls Trip… a film that is head and shoulders above Rough Night.

In a story of friendship we meet The Flossie Possie – made up of the world’s new Oprah, Ryan Pierce (Regina Hall – Scary Movie 4, Law Abiding Citizen), almost-bankrupt gossip columnist Sasha Franklin (Queen Latifah – Living Single, Chicago), boring divorced mother Lisa Cooper (Jada Pinkett Smith – Collateral, Scream 2) and the fun loving but very violent Dina (Tiffany Haddish – Keanu, Meet The Spartans).

The Flossie Possie started out in High School but have drifted apart over the years, but now they are back together and heading to New Oreleans where Ryan is the keynote speaker at a conference while her agent Elizabeth (Kate Walsh – Grey’s Anatomy, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower) works on a business deal that will see Ryan and her husband Stewart (Mike Colter – Luke Cage, Million Dollar Baby) become one of the richest celebrity couples in America. But with their marriage not as perfect as first seems and each of the members of the Possie dealing with their own demons this could turn out to be a very interesting weekend indeed.

As a film Girls Trip does hold up. The characters are instantly likable and for once a comedy gives you just enough back story for each of the characters to seem real, and even more importantly is there a no clichéd characters here. These important things all working with the screenplay and for director Malcolm D. Lee (Undercover Brother, The Best Man) means as an audience you find yourself barracking for these characters straight away.

What also works with the screenplay is the relationships between the characters. We get that there is tension between Sasha and Ryan without the screenplay having to spell it out in plain English for us. The script also allows for an interesting development between Ryan and Stewart by introducing his mistress, Simone (Deborah Ayorinde – Luke Cage, Game Of Silence) and then introducing a potential love interest for Ryan in the form of the almost perfect bass-player Julian (Larenz Tate – The Postman, Ray). The twisted four-way relationship never feels forced, which the screenwriters need to be congratulated about, and once again draws the audiences interest.

However, the major flaw of Girls Trip is that it feels like the screenwriters were never one hundred per cent sure what kind of comedy they were looking to make the film. There are witty lines and great moments of comedy that will make you laugh, Dina’s exchange with her boss as she is being fired is hilarious, but then when you suddenly find yourself watching a women pee on a crowd beneath her while she is on a zip line or another giving fellatio to a banana you find yourself wondering what are they trying to achieve here. These kinds of gags work in films like American Pie or The Hangover because they are constant, but there they seem out of place. Ironically it is when this film is showing moments of true heart and feelings between its characters that it works, that makes the outrageous comedic moments seem like an even stranger fit.

One of the main things that does work in favour of Girls Trip though is the performances of its cast. Everybody comes together really well and together Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and Tiffany Haddish are one of the best comedic ensembles that we have seen in quite a while. Hall brings are sensitivity to the film, Latifah brings heart and Haddish is there for the more outrageous moments. Then you have the utility – Smith who does a mixture of whatever each scene calls for. Then there is Larenz Tate who must be itching towards a headline role in a film soon, while Kate Walsh also delivers some of the film’s most funny moments.

Girls Trip does have a little issue with its comedic tone but for the most part this is a film that works pretty well. There are moments that will make you chuckle, which is more than you can say for a lot of comedies these days, while there is enough heart to win over any audience. If you’re looking for the perfect girls night out then Girls Trip should be number one on your list.