*** (out of four)
DIRECTED BY Malcolm D. Lee
STARS Regina Hall, Queen Latifah
- Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah and Tiffany Haddish in Girls Trip (Photo: Universal)
Moviegoers who endured a rough night watching the recent Rough Night will fare significantly better with Girls Trip, another comedy about four college friends who reunite years later for a raucous, no-holds-barred weekend.
Ryan Pierce (Regina Hall) is a bestselling author, Sasha Franklin (Queen Latifah) runs her own TMZ-style website, Lisa Cooper (Jada Pinkett Smith) is a divorcee with two kids, and Dina (Tiffany Haddish) — well, Dina defies description. The four reunite in New Orleans during the Essence Festival, where they hobnob with celebrities, hook up with an old college pal (Larenz Tate), and learn that Ryan’s husband (Mike Colter) is having an affair. Friendships are tested, romances are ignited, copious alcohol is consumed, and grapefruits are employed in an interesting way.
Like most modern comedies, Girls Trip occasionally goes overboard with the raunch (the zipline incident is funny the first time, merely unpleasant the second), and all problems are neatly resolved with predictable precision. Yet the movie dishes out a generous portion of huge laughs, and all four actresses are aptly cast and enjoy an easy rapport. Best of all is Haddish, whose breakout performance is not unlike that of Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids or Kate McKinnon in Ghostbusters. Best known for her TV roles, she proves to be utterly fearless in this film, diving into her part with both confidence and ferocity. It’s an invigorating performance, but, kids, don’t try the grapefruit at home.