Girls Trip follows the raunchy antics of four lifelong friends who catch up on a weekend getaway trip to the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans.
A whole slate of recent female-focused films have tackled the trope of "misbehaving women".
But unlike Bridesmaids, Bad Moms, Bad Teacher or Rough Night, Malcolm D. Lee's Girls Trip not only turns the premise on its head, but also offers up fun and original viewing.
With a script from Black-ish writer Kenya Barris and Tracy Oliver, the film follows four lifelong friends; celebrity blogger Sasha (Queen Latifah), nurse and single mother-of-two Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith), wild child office assistant Dina (Tiffany Haddish) and Ryan (Regina Hall), a lifestyle guru and author of a best-selling book titled 'You Can Have It All'.
The film kicks off with a flashback of the women during their college days, when they were known as the "Flossy Posse" and were on the cusp of taking on the world.
In reality, life has not been kind to the women, with it revealed that Sasha's blog is about to go under, Lisa is left lonely after a messy divorce, and Dina has recently been fired.
Yet, lifestyle guru Ryan is under the most immediate pressure, having learned that her seemingly perfect husband Stewart, Luke Cage star Mike Colter, is having an affair with an "Instagram model", placing their mega-bucks licensing deal at risk.
When Ryan is tapped as a keynote speaker at the annual Essence Festival in New Orleans, the quartet embarks on a retreat to reconnect, and the trip kicks off with the women letting loose by partying up a storm and binge drinking in the vibrant streets of the Louisiana city.
The mood allows the group to let off some steam, and each does something spontaneous, with uptight single mother Lisa having a fling with a man half her age, Sasha getting "white-boy wasted" and riding a zipline across Bourbon Street, Dina urinating in public and Ryan flirting with sweet musician Julian (Larenz Tate).
But the appearance of Simone (Deborah Ayorinde) - the lover of Ryan's husband - forces the women to focus on the matter at hand, and leads to an absinthe-induced sequence where the group engage in a consecutive dance battle and bar brawl.
Once the alcohol has worn off, Ryan is forced to contemplate whether her loyalty lies with her husband or the sisterhood, and a shock pregnancy announcement forces her to make a strongly feminist statement, in front of the Essence crowds no less.
While the plot is on the formulaic side, the central stars deliver warm and complex performances, oscillating between showing their vulnerabilities and facing up to their true desires.
Regina holds the group together with her likeable nature, while Jada and Latifah are genuinely goofy and relatable.
But even with all the star power within the cast, not counting the celebrity cameos, it is Tiffany Haddish's character who steals the show. From her sexually explicit explanation of "grapefruiting" to leading her pals in a pre-bedtime prayer, the actress' comic delivery is flawless and ensures she is the breakout star, similar to the way Melissa McCarthy wowed in Bridesmaids.
The stars make the content liberating to watch and bring to the forefront messages about work ethic, single life, and public image while also remaining sex positive – the only drawback is the length of the film, and with a running time of 122 minutes, some of the sequences do drag.
But even if Girls Trip is aimed at the female demographic, all viewers will certainly appreciate Lee's ability to shock and astound.
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