Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Girls Trip (2017)

The very basic premise of Girls Trip is a group of four friends getting back together to enjoy some leisure time that will include drinking, dancing, rekindling their sex drive, and a few arguments as they grow apart before maybe coming closer together. It's nothing we haven't seen before. The main twist here is that one of the group (Ryan Pierce, played by Regina Hall) is successful and famous, which makes the waters a lot trickier to navigate when her friends - played by Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Tiffany Haddish - start to suspect there may be a bit of trouble in her seemingly perfect marriage (to Stewart, played by Mike Colter).

Despite one or two very enjoyable moments, including an absolutely hilarious sequence in which the girls try to act normally while under the influence of hallucination-inducing substances aka tripping balls, Girls Trip is quite disappointing as a comedy. The script, by Kenya Barris and Tracy Oliver, could have easily trimmed down one or two characters, and one more set-piece to rival the hallucinatory sequence would have been enough to push this above average. A few decent lines here and there don't do enough to make this consistently amusing.

Director Malcolm D. Lee doesn't add anything of note. His work is capable enough, following the predictable script almost to the letter (it would seem), and he tends to just have faith in his leading ladies. Which would be a wise choice if they were all on the same level.

I like Regina Hall. A lot. I always have, and think I always will. I have also been a big fan of every performance I have seen from Queen Latifah. So I enjoyed both of them in this film. And it was a bonus that Hall is actually given a few excellent, and unexpected, moments to show just how good she can act, especially in the second half of the film. Smith and Haddish, on the other hand, just don't work as well. It's not that they're terrible, and the earlier scenes with Haddish arranging her leave from work are actually very funny, but they're just nowhere near as watchable or charismatic as the other two. Colter does well in the bad man role, Larenz Tate doesn't get that much screentime as a nice guy, and Kate Walsh does a lot with her small role, playing a white woman who tries to act and speak like the rest of the group, despite other people explaining that it's not something she can really make work.

Far from terrible, it's just a shame that Girls Trip rarely has enough laughs throughout. Which is always a mark against something being sold as a comedy.


You can buy Girls Trip here.
Americans can pick it up here.

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