Perfecting the raunchy female-driven comedy can be a tall order. “Bridesmaids” showed it could be done, and “Girls Trip” proves to be the heir apparent. This film about female friendship nails the comedy, the boldness and the heart. There’s no need for high concepts or outlandish premises here; all that’s necessary are four best friends and a city built for sin.
Malcolm D. Lee directs “Girls Trip,” and he’s clearly a man comfortable navigating an ensemble project.
Author and Oprah-in-training Ryan (Regina Hall) has invited her girl crew (known as the Flossy Posse) along for a trip to New Orleans, where she’s giving a keynote speech and taking meetings to launch her brand with her husband and business partner, Stewart (Mike Colter). Making up the Flossy Posse are Jada Pinkett Smith as worrywart mom Lisa, Queen Latifah as gossip blogger Sasha, and Tiffany Haddish as the hilarious, uncensored and often unhinged Dina.
In the party atmosphere of New Orleans, Ryan’s perfectly maintained image and composure starts to come loose at the seams, especially when her posse discovers photos of Stewart stepping out with a sultry Instagram model (Deborah Ayorinde). It’s not just the infidelity, but the threat to her business ventures that causes Ryan to sweep it under the rug. Meanwhile, Lisa’s trying to get her groove back with a college kid (Kofi Siriboe), Sasha’s finances are in shambles, and Dina’s trying to avoid any more run-ins with hotel security.
All the women turn in funny performances, but this is Haddish’s movie, and it will make her a star. It’s clear from the moment she hits the screen, gleefully sharing her tips for smuggling contraband onto a plane. The epic dance battle in which she owns the floor clad in a skin-tight jumpsuit and purple wig cements the fact.
The hijinks of “Girls Trip” are of the bawdy and boozy variety, replete with X-rated discussions about sex and anatomy. These are women who like to have fun with their sexuality, don’t take it too seriously, and are unashamed about their desires.
“Girls Trip” balances potty humor with heartfelt female empowerment. These elements never clash, because the characters are real people with real relationships and real problems. It’s a refreshing representation, but it doesn’t sacrifice the laughs or the love they have for each other. The girls of “Girls Trip” prove that women can be many things: powerful, naughty, gross, hilarious and sexy, while still lifting each other up.
Rated R for crude and sexual content throughout, pervasive language, brief graphic nudity, and drug material. 2:02. Fayette Mall, Hamburg, Nicholasville, Richmond, Winchester.