Friday, July 21, 2017

Over the Top and Overflowing With Laughs, 'Girls Trip' Is a Getaway That You Don't Want to Miss

The Flossy Posse is wigged out: Queen Latifah, Tiffany Haddish, Jada Pinkett Smith and Regina Hall. Photos courtesy of Universal Pictures.

BY VW

FOUR
college friends – five years estranged – reunite when they journey to the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans.

During the stay of the "Flossy Posse" in The Big Easy all manner of fun, good times, hijinks, old hurts, perceived new betrayals and doom are in play.

In a nutshell, that is the premise of "Girls Trip," which opens today in U.S. theaters. Directed by Malcolm D. Lee from a screenplay by Kenya Barris and Tracy Oliver, the comedy stars Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith.

To be clear, "Girls Trip" is puerile, gross, tasteless and vulgar. It has marked undertones of "Weekend at Bernie's," “Entourage," "Sex in the City" as well as numerous, nameless comedy films aimed at the funny bones and libidos of males 12 to 25. Except, these are women. Black women. Thankfully, with divergent personalities, giving viewers four very different variations of black womanhood. As it should be, since there are myriad iterations.

More important, "Girls Trip" is funny and occasionally tender and touching. It also boasts some entertaining archival concert footage featuring Mariah Carey, Bel Biv Devoe and other acts. There are also a number of cameos, including P. Diddy and chef Carla Hall Mostly, “Girl’s Trip” is funny. Very funny.

Providing most of the laughs is TH. Clearly, she is the designated comic relief. And as Dina, girlfriend brings it in spades in every, well-intentioned, laser-focused, expletive-filled rant. She steals the film. Lest viewers are confused, be advised that comedic acting is difficult; considerably more than dramatic acting. TH is utterly believable as a woman plagued by anger-management problems.

All four are troubled in their own way and doing what they have to do to get through it. Sasha (QL), once a respected journalist, has sunk into the muck and mire of bossip (black folk gossip). Lisa (JPS), serially distrustful of men, has moved herself and her two children in with her mother, spending far too much of her time smothering rather than mothering.

Ryan (RH), who is becoming increasingly successful as a self-help author by declaring to women that they can have it all, has far less than that herself. Including Mr. Right For Her.

On this trip they are to get away from their troubles. And when they do, they go all in. In fact, they let it rip, from bungee-cording (exquisitely tasteless) in the French Quarter, to triple-teaming an interloper during a cooking segment (fun), to going on an absinthe-fueled tear (side splittingly funny) to kicking butt during a dance-off in a nightclub (riotous). The Flossy Posse is in da house, y'all!

Toasting with drinks spiked with way too much absinthe.

Hanging over all of these contretemps, however, like a family of ominous storm clouds, is the threat of a scandal involving Ryan. It has the potential to destroy her marriage and her fledgling empire. This bombshell can potentially tear asunder the Flossy Posse.

It is in these spaces – when disaster is sharpening its poisonous arrows – that the comedy in "Girls Trip" gives way to drama. Usually, in this sort of comedy, the drama is outside of too much, utterly over the top, fully unbelievable.

Here, it is very natural; organic. As when Sasha and Ryan have a belated confrontation in the lobby of their hotel after all four women have a battle royale with each other. Lisa and Dina quit the lobby in high dungeon, leaving Sasha and Ryan alone. It’s a reckoning.

All that fun can wear a girl out.

This exchange will resonate resoundingly with any woman with long-term female friends. Your heart and all your superb wishes go out to them both.

Naturally, “Girls Trip” has a happy ending. And the real exploration is the fun-filled journey getting there.

”Girl’s Trip is rated R. Visit http://www.girlstripmovie.com/ to learn more about the film.

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