Wednesday, 2 August 2017

'Girls Trip' (2017) Review: A Movie That Tries To Have It All

Half Price: A movie that should be seen in the cinema with a crowd to back it up. At a discount.

As they get older, most people find it increasingly trying to make time for their social lives. Some have families, some have work, some have both. 'Girls Trip' is a story about 4 women going on a relentless, wild adventure, reliving their glory days, and acting as young as they feel no matter how old they are. A story told a thousand and one times with men but one that's all too uncommon for women.

They made two of these movies. TWO.
Puzzlingly, 'Girls Trip' is a movie that has everything you've seen before, and things you never thought you'd ever see. In terms of its plot, it's entirely predictable. A few moments were surprising twists and turns in the road, that ultimately led to the same tired destination. In terms of spectacle, the movie is an entirely different ball game. 

You might be able to see moments coming, but knowing is only half the battle. You'll still be woefully unprepared for the limits the film will go beyond. In fact, 'Girls Trip' will put you in a state of perpetual denial about its antics. There's a temptation to deny the movie's unlimited raunch. This is pointless. Before you can say "There's no way they'll do that", it's too late. It's already been done.

Shock value trumps all else in 'Girls Trip', with scenes designed to leave you contemplating the reality of the movie itself. In a way, this movie earned my respect. I might not have laughed for first 20 minutes of 'Girls Trip', but that doesn't mean there were no laughs to be had. In fact, the audience I saw the film with was uncontrollable. Never before have I wished a film was subtitled, as the audio just could not compete with the thundering roar of the crowd.

The constant expression of my 'Girls Trip' audience

Personally, I'll admit to being swept up by the movie's energy, but by and large, the jokes in 'Girls Trip' were met with disbelief. Sometimes by their content, other times by just how bad they were. The movie was a mixed bag from start to finish. The same can't be said for the cast, each of which fit a relatable, yet over the top archetype, with their own role to make the group feel balanced.

There's Jada Pinkett-Smith, playing Lisa, the party girl turned strict and uptight mom. Queen Latifah's Sasha, the one who could be doing better, Tiffany Haddish's Dina, the rambunctious wild one, and Regina Hall's Ryan, the main character who has it all. They play off each other mostly well and have an engaging screen presence together. By their nature, some characters get more play than others, but at least the movie wasn't bogged down by multiple sub plots, just a few grating moments.

As if the movie wasn't imbalanced enough, there's a slight tonal dissonance to 'Girls Trip'. One minute your four leading ladies will be zip lining between terraces, and then later, the movie will drop some hard truth bombs about social inequality. Honestly? I would've been thrilled had the movie explored those moments more. The film is well aware of the importance it holds, having an all female cast comprised of women of colour.

The backdrop of the trip is an event for Essence magazine which serves as a celebration of black artists. Countless celebrity cameos can be found throughout the movie, as a reminder that black stars are out there, and they're important. These moments might've been jarring, but they were definitely appreciated. When it wanted to, 'Girls Trip' told its messages well.

'Girls Trip' ropes you in, and makes you enjoy it just a little, even if you didn't want to tag along.

There are some movies that strive to be relatable. Showing us a story that reflects our own lives, through characters we see ourselves in. There are other movies that dabble in fantasy, being completely unrealistic and giving us a form of escapism as we're whisked away into the film's incredible world. 'Girls Trip' does as 'Girls Trip' would, and tries to pull off both. Sometimes successfully, most times not. 'Girls Trip' may not have been the film for me, but it was certainly the film for many.

Rating: Half Price