Girls Trip (R)

Comedy 122 min. July 21, 2017
By Melissa Anderson
Truth in advertising: Girls trip hard during their New Orleans getaway in Girls Trip, which maybe doesn't need that possessive apostrophe after all. Malcolm D. Lee's comedy, written by Kenya Barris and Tracy Oliver, pops with next-level ribaldry and smack talk, especially in its first half. But in the remaining hour, the laughs arrive less often as the gender politics grow weirder.

The Big Easy–bound women are four friends from college (class of '95), so tight that they gave themselves an enduring sobriquet: the Flossy Posse. Each pal is sketched out in the obligatory decade-spanning, coiffure-changing montage, with some biographies more detailed than others. Dina (Tiffany Haddish), the quartet's most libidinous and short-fused member. Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith) leads a sexless life as a nurse and overly attached mom. Once a rising star in legacy media, Sasha (Queen Latifah) now runs a gossip site and dodges overdue bills. And Ryan (Regina Hall), the occasional narrator, is about to expand the already flourishing self-help brand she created with her charismatic ex-NFLer husband, Stewart (Mike Colter).

Speaking of brand: The Flossy Posse reunion in the Crescent City is occasioned by Ryan's invitation to give the keynote address at Essence Fest, an annual music celebration sponsored by the magazine. Much of Girls Trip was filmed at last summer's event, and the egregious corporate synergy fatigues a little.

Though Haddish's character gobbles up the most jokes, her co-stars -- two of them, anyway -- also kill. With icy, annihilating elegance, Ryan schools her black-slang-abusing Caucasian agent (Kate Walsh); Pinkett Smith brings a limber appeal -- and an always-game willingness for toilet humor -- to Lisa's predictable transformation from uptight scold to young-stud magnet.
Malcolm D. Lee Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Tiffany Haddish, Larenz Tate, Mike Colter, Kate Walsh, Kofi Siriboe, Deborah Ayorinde, Juan Gaspard Kenya Barris, Karen McCullah Will Packer Universal Studios

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