Girls Trip July 25, 2017 GIRLS TRIP (USA/16/122mins) Directed by Malcolm D. Lee. Starring Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith, Tiffany Haddish, Mike Colter. THE PLOT: In college, Ryan (Regina Hall), Sasha (Queen Latifah), Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Dina (Tiffany Haddish) were best friends, calling themselves the Flossy Posse. Years later, the friends have drifted apart, but when successful author Ryan is to be keynote speaker at the Essence Festival in New Orleans, she invites her friends, in the hopes of rekindling their friendship. In between the drinking, dancing and brawling, the four friends uncover some uncomfortable home truths that put their tentative friendship in jeopardy again. THE VERDICT: Fresh from glowing reviews in the US, ‘Girls Trip’ hits Ireland this week, but although there are some giggles to be had throughout the film, which’s tarts well, the charm quickly rubs off the film, leaving the 2 hour running time feeling long and drawn out. The cast is made up of Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah and Tiffany Haddish, and although the four characters start off as distinct from one another, albeit one dimensional, it is not long before the women begin to blend together in a screeching, over the top mess. The rest of the cast features Larenz Tate, Kate Walsh and Luke Cage’s Mike Colter. The screenplay, written by Kenya Barris and Tracy Oliver feels as though it was inspired by ‘The Hangover’ and ‘Bridesmaids’; sending a group of women into debauchery and silliness, and making them behave incredibly badly for laughs. At the start of the film the four women feel distinct, with their own personality traits and quirks, but as time goes on, they all become similar to one another, screeching their way through the film and playing up the stereotypes that Ryan so carefully calls Kate Walsh’s character out for. The jokes get increasingly more disgusting and bizarre as the women try to one up one another, culminating in some uncomfortably placed grapefruit, and a full bladder in a zip wire. Dina gets all the best lines in the film, and easily steals the show with her fantastic comic timing, but she, as with all the other characters, quickly becomes tiresome as they are never given a chance to develop. Director Malcolm D. Lee never manages to pace the film properly, with plot points and antagonists seemingly coming out of nowhere. The New Orleanian shenanigans get out of hand rather quickly, with celebrity cameos from Sean Combs, Mariah Carey and Ne-Yo just seeming to up the ante as the four main characters attempt to recreate their college days even though they all know they are too old for such nonsense. The laughs are sporadic throughout the film, and there are far more cringeworthy moments than laugh out loud ones. In all, ‘Girls Trip’ is a comedy filled with jokes that never quite seem to land. The characters quickly lose any traits that make them distinct, leading to them blurring together in a shouting, screeching mess, and although the film tries to have a message, this too never quite hits home. Keep an eye out for Tiffany Haddish, she is an actress with great comedic timing, and someone to watch out for; the rest of ‘Girls Trip’ however, is awkward and ultimately forgettable. RATING: 2/5 Review by Brogen Hayes filmbuff2011 These things always come in twos. Rough Night is coming out in a few weeks, having had its release here delayed by over two months (hmm….). Before that is another tale of women behaving badly in Girls Trip. If you thought the trailers were bad, wait till you see the film. Author and relationship expert Ryan (Regina Hall) is part of a power couple with Stewart (Mike Colter). Her house is not in order though. She suspects he’s cheating on her. To get her mind off things, she reconnects with her old friends – homely soccer mom Lisa (Jada Pinkett-Smith), gossip blogger Sasha (Queen Latifah) and motormouth Dina (Tiffany Haddish). They haven’t seen each other in years, so it’s time for some girl time. They head to the Essence Festival in New Orleans to celebrate their African-American heritage. Cue lots of hijinks, drunken behaviour and flirtations with local talent. However, Ryan’s inability to confront the truth of her marriage, or lack thereof, may prove a sticking point with the rest of the ‘Flossy Posse’… Girls Trip holds no surprises and is an entirely predictable, noisy, crude ‘comedy’. It isn’t even that really, since there’s little here that rises above a bare chuckle. The lowest low-point involves Lisa stuck on a zip line and relieving herself on the crowd below. You’d think that the usually sharp-minded Pinkett-Smith would be above that kind of juvenile nonsense. That has to be a career low for her. With three credited screenwriters, the plot is laboured and groans like a woman giving birth. You can see all the motions – the homely one who gets all sassy, the motormouth who learns to get some smarts, the potentially treacherous one who might change her mind and the smart one who eventually grows some balls and shows some girl power. That’s just for starters. The closing scenes are so twee and patronising that this reviewer shook his head in disbelief. Or maybe this reviewer is just the wrong gender. Women are undeniably funny and are more than able to match the boys in the humour department. The strong bonds of female friendship are also a great resource to mine for a film, whether a comedy or other genre. The gold standard for this kind of film is Bridesmaids, which barely set a foot wrong and was consistently funny. Girls Trip is not that kind of film. It’s not even bronze medal material. Whether it’s the poor performances (the irritating Haddish in particular), predictable plot or unnecessarily crude humour, it fails again and again to hit the mark. It’s also punishingly long – no decent comedy pushes past the 100-minute mark and aims for 2 hours instead. Girls Trip is insufferably awful. * emerb “Girls Trip” is the latest surprisingly entertaining, raunchy and shamelessly funny comedy about female power, strength and friendship and it comes to us from director Malcolm D. Lee. The film stars a top notch cast made up of Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall and Tiffany Haddish as four old college roommates AKA the “Flossy Posse” who reunite for a wild girlie weekend during the Essence Music Festival, New Orleans in the hopes of bring the spark back into their once solid but now fading friendships. Ryan (Regina Hall) is the most successful of the girl crew with thousands of online followers and fans. She’s written a best-selling self-help book and has an apparently perfect marriage to smooth hunk Stewart (Mike Colter), a retired NFL player. Sasha (Queen Latifah) was once a successful journalist but is now a gossip blogger, Lisa (Jada Pinkett-Smith) is a recently divorced and rather frumpy mother of two who is devoted to her kids and no longer on the dating scene and the wild one, sexy Dina (Tiffany Haddish) is the real live wire – cheeky, loud and bold but lots of fun and lives for the good life. Back in the college days they were very close but now much older, they have spent years apart due to their busy lifestyles and are desperate for a holiday to rekindle their old friendship. The opportunity arises when Ryan and Stewart have to deliver a huge speech at Essence Fest in order to secure a lucrative contract. The gang are all on board for an insane weekend of girl time filled with high jinks and mayhem! Cue all the features you would expect from this sort of movie – hitting the nightclubs, too much drink, pokey accommodations and the need to prove how loyal they are to each other when relationships are tested. “Girls Trip” is a truly wild girls-night-out summer comedy that doesn’t disappoint. There’s an infectious enjoyment in watching these women just let loose and have fun. Admittedly we have seen the set up before but it’s the likeability of the immensely appealing cast and their relaxed chemistry together that elevates this comedy caper a step above the rest and ensures it doesn’t flag when the script hits a weak point. There are laughs-a-plenty as we move from one comedic situation to the next with moments in between in which the girls ponder on life, love and friendships. One of the stand-outs has to be the crazy zip-line scene which gives us one of the crudest visions of public urination I have ever seen! Queen Latifa proves yet again what a consistently strong comedienne she is and both Hall and Smith impress too but I thought that relative newcomer Tiffany Haddish really stole the show more than once, with some of the most hilarious and shockingly inappropriate one- liners and bouts of physical humour. Admittedly this brand of comedy won’t be to everybody’s taste – it’s raucous, crass, brash and filthy. We get nudity, sex, bad language and sheer vulgarity but it’s all so outrageous that you just go with it. There’s so much to recommend this film and I laughed so much. It’s frivolous, it’s fresh and it’s funny, go see and enjoy!