It would be far too easy to sneer or to even be mildly annoyed at some of the more risqué gags in Malcolm D. Lee’s newest comedy, Girls Trip. All the ingredients are here for what could have potentially been one of the more lacklustre comedies this summer and yet, there is so much to like about this charming endeavour. Ignoring the crass sexual innuendo, predictable dialogue and a frankly ludicrous narrative arc, Girls Trip should be cheered rather than sneered at for having four brilliantly talented black female leads, who don’t have to play second fiddle to their male counterparts.
Written by Erica Rivinoja, Kenya Barris and Tracy Oliver, Girls Trip may not have the most groundbreaking storyline or even the funniest gags, but it does offer its audiences the chance to enjoy a comedy focused on four black women over 40, all the while gently nudging Hollywood towards gender and ethnic parity.
From the outside Ryan (Regina Hall) has it all, the money, the perfect marriage to husband Stewart (Mike Colter) and a lucrative TV career that is set to rival Oprah Winfrey. However, things have not been the same since losing touch with her college best friends, the aptly named “Flossy Posse”. When she is invited to give the keynote speech at the annual Essence Fest, Ryan calls upon on her old crew to join her for a weekend away in New Orleans to relive their glory days. There’s Sacha (Queen Latifah) who graduated with a journalism degree but now resorts to writing internet gossip for money, divorced mum of two Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith), and finally the sexually aggressive Dina (Tiffany Haddish) who will stop at nothing in the name of fun.
While conventional comedy fodder, Girls Trip surpasses all expectations with its ability to remain unapologetic even when you expect it to dial the gross out jokes down a notch. Haddish, with her genuinely infectious “joie to vivre” as Dina, will eventually win you over even if the laughs start drying out halfway through the film. Queen Latifah puts in a respectable enough performance, while Pinkett Smith and Hall both manage to add a much more sedate tone to the proceedings.
The writers do a decent enough job in offering a storyline which could rival any Apatow-esque female-centric comedy a la Bridesmaids, though sadly the women perhaps rely too much on what men think of them. Having said that, Girls Trip delivers pretty much what it set out to achieve even if its lack of subtlety may not always be for everyone’s liking.
Girls Trip is released on July 26th.