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The reviews are in for Girls Trip, Universal’s Friday (July 21) release, starring Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Regina Hall and Tiffany Haddish. The raunchy comedy, directed by Malcolm D. Lee from a script by Black-ish‘s Kenya Barris, Karen McCullah, Tracy Oliver and Erica Rivinoja, is receiving mostly positive reviews, with an 87 percent freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes as of Thursday afternoon.
The film follows four longtime pals, who have a wild time, and rekindle their friendships, at New Orleans’ Essence Festival.
Read on to find out what the critics are saying about the movie.
The Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney anticipated Girls Trip to be a second take on the recently released Rough Night — which he claimed “came and went with a blur of indifference” – but was pleasantly surprised, stating that the difference between the two flicks, both chock-full of sorority sister screams that are perfect for a summer blockbuster, was that Girls Trip “actually deliver[ed] on its promise of a liberating good time,” something the former had failed to portray. He does mention small flaws in the new hit, but says there is too much good in this one to get hung up on those flaws.
As for the four leads, Rooney called them “spirited” and “immensely appealing,” largely due to the direction of Lee, who is “a go-to director for high-gloss entertainment built around successful, sexy African-American characters.” Each character is established into her own with “deft economy,” making this flick a “sweet summertime hit,” according to Rooney.
Like Rooney, Kate Erbland of IndieWire also initially thought Girls Trip would be a Rough Night redo. But she proclaimed that the more recent release “benefits from a beefier storyline and better chemistry” than its simpler predecessor. “Those pure laughs are more than enough to sustain the summer’s best comedy so far, as Girls Trip nails laugh after laugh even amidst — and oftentimes because of — dramatic issues that wouldn’t be out of place in a Lifetime movie,” she wrote. “Girls Trip keeps the momentum whirling ever onward into the next big comedic set piece.”
Ariel Scotti from the New York Daily News called Girls Trip “your summer fun.” She also commented on the authenticity of the characters, delving deep into the raunchy and comedic role of Dina (Haddish), saying that a “less talented actress would have drowned in the vulgarity of the script.” Scotti agrees with the aforementioned reviews, praising Girls Trip for its portrayal of sisterhood on a “real and relatable level” and “black girl magic.” Her one complaint, though: “the humor can go too far on the crudeness level.”
Also offering praise for the pure characters of Girls Trip, Manohla Dargas of The New York Times explains that the four leading ladies “despite being fictional also exist in our world,” unlike those in other flicks about “naughty women” who end up murdering a man in their storyline. She claims “[Girls Trip] is also funnier; it’s also more appealing because it knows that there’s more at stake existentially for women, and especially for black women, than out-grossing men.”
Dargas lauds the film for addressing character issues that keep the cast grounded, teaching them and us “how to live in the world with love and joy, how to nurture intimate relationships so they don’t slip away, how to balance professional and personal obligations without going nuts, how to perform fairly tricky sexual acts without embarrassing you or your partner right out of bed — you know, the usual.” She compares the comedy to “male-centric” movies of the type, including The Hangover, adding that Girls Trip “adds complexity to the picture by bringing in class.”
Another fan of Haddish’s performance, Sandy Cohen of the Associated Press, begins by writing that “if there were such a thing as Comedy Oscars, [Haddish] would win for Girls Trip,” comparing her performance to that of Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids. Cohen doesn’t forget the rest of Girls Trip‘s cast, though, mentioning that “all four actresses have shining moments of comedy and heart.”
Cohen also appreciates the realistic and relatable characters, calling the group “#friendshipgoals.” She closes with more appreciation for the fun summer film, promising it “delivers for all adult audiences.” “Regardless of your race or gender,” Cohen adds, “you’ll be laughing all the way home. The members of the Flossy Posse are fully realized people: accomplished people trying to have fun and find themselves as they navigate their grown-up lives.”
The Toronto Star‘s Bruce Demara, in one of the film’s few bad reviews, praises the chemistry among the four stars and the film’s “positive and life-affirming message about sisterhood and personal empowerment” but he lamented, “You have to wade through an awful lot of clutter to get there. … The film is audacious and unabashed in its determination to draw laughs from material that takes vulgarity to the extreme,” Demara writes. “Some of it works while a lot of it is just head-shakingly awful.” He attributes the problems to the film’s screenplay and its “focus on antics and bad language [more] than plot and character development. … Words like ‘bitch,’ ‘ho’ and the dreaded N-word flow freely, and how tiresome and anti-feminist it is to hear women repeat the mantra that all a woman with the blues needs is something big and black,” he writes.
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