Girls Trip

GirlsTrip
Girls trippin’

O h, look. They remade Rough Night. Well that was fast. Hindered by a childish title and a trailer cut to resemble an Image Awards version of the mayonnaise-based ScarJo vehicle from earlier this summer, Girls Trip is actually a smarter, funnier, and much more worthwhile film. Don’t get me wrong, it has several problems; we’ll get to that in a sec, but if you’re like me and you had preview-originated trouble telling Rough Night apart from Girls Trip, Girls Trip is the one where you actually might care.

The Flossy Posse. Yes, The Flossy Posse. There is no way to pretend or sugar coat the fact that the quartet of women in this film go by such an absurdly mockable handle, so go ahead and make your own joke here: ________________. Once a group of college BFFs, The Flossy Posse has fallen out of touch in their, shall we call it, “thirties?” Sure. They’ve fallen out of touch in their thirties (wink, wink), and have decided to reunite for the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans. Thankfully for the audience, the four friends have adopted neatly assigned adult roles: Ryan the Talent (Regina Hall), Sasha the Sell-out (Queen Latifah), Lisa the Prude (Jada Pinkett Smith), and Dina the Fool (Tiffany Haddish).

I know none of this sounds terribly promising, and it only gets worse when I point out that Dina hijacks almost every scene with an appeal to the lowest common denominator; I’m not exactly sure whether the “you can’t get infection in yo’ booty hole” or “it’s that Shaka Zulu [dick]” was the lowest of the low. All I know is the crowd around me howled at many of her declarations.

Trust me, the movie isn’t about Dina. She’s just there for the laughs. Ryan is a successful author and teamed with her former NFL husband Stewart (Mike Colter), the two are on the brink of a family-friendly product empire, or would be if Stewart were not a habitual cheater. Hence, Girls Trip sets up a number of competing facets – the quartet having a good time in New Orleans, Ryan’s self-delusion, Ryan’s relationship with Stewart, the competing devil’s advocate of the Flossy Posse when it comes to Stewart, the subject of the most recent infidelity herself, and Dina’s insistence that the camera never show anybody else.

Girls Trip has a tremendous self-induced hypocrisy stemming from the film’s disturbingly hungry libido. The four leads, especially Dina, make no bones about a desire for sexual conquest (almost always in a humorous context). To be fair, I found the humor of this quartet restating the obvious, “I want to have sex” equally as funny as when you see the same of their male counterparts in other films, which is to say not at all. Apparently we’re ok with the hypocrisy because Stewart wears a ring while the three non-Ryan women do not – and, sure Ryan herself is getting close to Julian (Larenz Tate), but what is “cheating” anyway? So Girls sets up a dichotomy where the Posse pushes Lisa to go screw around like a wildebeest on Viagra, but when it comes to Stewart: hey! Don’t you even dare think sexual thoughts about another woman.

If the movie were entirely about this contrast and Dina yelling something to thunderous applause, I’m sure I would dislike it. Don’t get me wrong, it would still be Shakespeare compared to the average Tyler Perry, but I found myself invested in all four members of the Posse, even Dina. For a movie (much like The Hangover) so easily reduced to its lowest common denominator – as the previews dictate – the relationships are both far more complex and satisfying than a series of dick jokes. That may be damning with faint praise, and Girls Trip deserves that, but I liked it more than I didn’t, which was a great surprise based on expectation.

♪Whatever NoLa wants
NoLa gets
And party pals, party NoLa wants you
Make up your story now, synchronize.
Flossy posse, it’s Vegas bayou♫

Rated R, 122 Minutes
D: Malcolm D. Lee
W: Kenya Barris & Tracy Oliver
Genre: Feels like a Jet magazine version of The Hangover
Type of person most likely to enjoy this film: Middle-aged black women
Type of person least likely to enjoy this film: Those offended that it’s better than Rough Night

♪ Parody inspired by “Whatever Lola Wants”

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