“Bridesmaids” raised the bar to a cinematic height that many critics surmised would go unmatched by any other female-driven film. But lo and behold, a newcomer has arrived with the potential to unseat its predecessor as the most enjoyable estrogen-fueled-film of all time. What do you get when you combine the hallucinogenic power of alcohol, four beautiful Nubian queens, and a fun-filled getaway in New Orleans?
As a red-blooded male, I call this a dream come true. But it also sums up the premise of “Girls Trip,” which features a quartet of estranged college pals who reassemble after five years of separation to cut loose in The Crescent City.
Starring Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah and Tiffany Haddish, the success of this film proves—yet again—that Black performers are equally as bankable as their White counterparts. But more importantly, “Girls Trip” is genuinely funny and relatable—it’s a wild ride powered by the idiosyncrasies of Black culture and the numerous complexities of womanhood. “I have been told my entire career ‘Black women can’t open films domestically or internationally.’ Well anything is possible,” star Taraji P. Henson wrote on Instagram after the movie’s opening weekend, when it took the No. 1 spot at the box office. “Most importantly this proves that people like good material. Has nothing to do with gender or race. Agreed?”
Word of mouth for this film continues to spread, and its momentum at the box office steadily grows (resulting in a $28 million dollar weekend debut).
The R-rated comedy from director Malcolm D. Lee features friends heading to the Essence Festival and it treats the ladies as real people instead of props.
“Girls Trip” has gained national attention for successfully improving on the design of a threadbare concept in Hollywood.
Black film fans have encountered this premise dozens of times: A group of friends reunite after spending years apart wrestling with personal and family obligations. It’s as original as uniting a burger with fries and a Coke. But where most films of this ilk go right, “Girls Trip” travels in the opposite direction with a strong emphasis on booze, sex and shameless debauchery comparable to nothing we’ve ever witnessed on screen.
The movie consists of several moving parts. It begins with a blast into the past during a college party in which the ladies (who call themselves the “Flossy Posse”) perform a choreographed dance routine while their adoring peers cheer them on. The next few scenes reveal how the crew eventually floats apart after they graduate, setting a familiar stage for them to reunite years later.
Hall is outstanding as Ryan, a self-help author with a marketable knack for balancing—or pretending to balance—a career and a marriage to an NFL hero (Luke Cage’s Mike Colter). She’s set to speak at the Essence Festival in the Big Easy and uses the occasion to reconnect with her ex-sorority sisters.
Latifah brings sass and class to Sasha, a classically-trained journalist whose pursuit of wealth and notoriety causes her to launch a celebrity-gossip blog.
Pinkett Smith hits all the right notes as Lisa, a nurse and single mom who overcomes her prudishness with a hunky stranger Malik (Kofi Siriboe).
And get ready for Haddish—a Category 5 hurricane of laughs—who turns wildchild Dina into a catalyst for raunch unleashed. To hear Haddish explain the meaning of “grapefruiting” you may never get the description out of your head.
Melodrama ensues when Ryan suspects Sasha might be responsible for a leaked photo of her cheating husband engaged in something kinky with a bodacious “Instagram model.”
There’s a chemistry and harmony between the four leads that can’t be manufactured or scripted, and a kind of freewheeling recklessness to Malcolm D. Lee’s direction that keeps things perpetually moving.
The movie cost just $20 million to produce, and its stellar performance at the box office thus far enhances Lee’s track record of producing successful films. (He made his directorial debut with “The Best Man.”)
“Black women can open a movie and it does not have to be about the space program, okay?” Lee, alluding to “Hidden Figures,” told the Hollywood Reporter. “Black Girl Magic is real — people want a piece of it, they want to see it, they want to be empowered by it.”