On the surface, Girls Trip looks to be nothing but another ‘girls-go-bad-for-a-weekend’ gross-out comedy trying to catch on to the success of Bridesmaids (2011) – but when you take a closer look behind the stock-standard characters, it has much more to say to its audience.
The film is set up with a clichéd, but simple voice over from the central character, Ryan Pierce (Regina Hall), giving the audience the rundown of these kooky characters in a standard but heartfelt exposition; a group of gal-pals who were tight at university (tight enough to have their own group name, ‘Flossy Posse’, and matching over-the-top bling from the nineties), but have slowly drifted apart over the years. We see touching moments of friends being there for each other, like amongst a divorce which reinforces their continued care and support when the times are tough – setting this story up as not just a catch-up, but literally a much needed ‘girl’s trip’ where they can be there for each other and get loose along the way.
Girls Trip is genuinely a fun time, featuring some crazy drunken antics and sweet bonding between friends. But underneath the surface, the film has a lot say about a few issues that people tend to gloss over or forget about. Ryan’s agent Elizabeth (Kate Walsh) is a constant reminder of subtle racism – an attempt by non-coloured people to be ‘cool’ with people of colour using common colloquial phrases like ‘get it gurl’ or ‘raise the roof’ with the best of intentions, but are actually reinforcing elements of stereotypical behaviour and a lack of understanding that these minor actions are still acts of racism, assuming that we can refer to certain acts or people in certain ways because of the colour of their skin, and assuming they must all talk like that.
The ‘loose & crazy’ friend, Dina (Tiffany Haddish), might be one of the nicest surprises in the whole film; she has some of the best lines and actions throughout every scene she’s in, and easily steals the spotlight – the type of character that prays on her bed each night, setting her up as the most genuine character out of the four women. Though the writing for her is fantastic, it’s her performance that makes it all seem believable.
The predictable character Sasha (Queen Latifa), actually plays a very crucial role in showing that this film is about more than just a good time and standing by your friends – but also about the very real and consistently ignored and tolerated harsh treatment of celebrities. When people are in the public eye, it’s easy for us to crave the constant updates, or maybe we’ll resist the urge but magazines and tv shows literally survive through their paparazzi ways that do much more harm than good – at the instant gratification of the masses. Girls Trip forces its audience to seriously consider what people are doing every time they click on those websites or buy those trashy magazines.
Girls Trip is a fun romp with a heck of a lot more heart than expected. You might be surprised when you come out of the cinema feeling like a better person than you were going in!
The film has some major headliners in it including Mike Colter (Luke Cage), but while Tiffany Haddish mightn’t have as many big names in her film history, she has been performing stand up comedy for some time, along with many small roles in television before getting this breakout role. After a period of homelessness, living in her car post-high school, Haddish now volunteers at the Laugh Factory Comedy Camp and for other charities that help the homeless and misfortunate.