If you have not heard, Girl’s Trip is currently doing big numbers in theaters. It opened at number 2 in the box office only behind Christopher Nolan’s WWII flick, Dunkirk. When I first saw the trailers for Girl’s Trip, I had a bunch of thoughts, and none of them particularly positive. The star power involved had me concerned because there are several star studded “black films” that seem like they want to succeed on the merit of their actors previous careers. They aren’t setting out to do anything other than be a movie with a bunch of black people in it. I saw that as a worst case scenario.
In the best case, I thought we would be getting the “black women” version of The Hangover. The Hangover is a hit now, but certainly lost luster as sequels were generated and comedy writers of the “squad” or “team adventure” comedy seem to be trying to catch that lightening in the bottle again. I was all set to avoid Girls Trip and was content with Dunkirk and Valerian as my weekend picks… but then Jimmy Kimmel gave Tiffany Haddish the platform America did not know she needed.
Suddenly, the woman I knew the least about in an All-Star cast was the reason I knew I was going. Dina, Tiffany’s character, is the foul mouthed, sexually liberated, something like an alcoholic whirlwind that keeps us in tears through out the film. This is not to take away from Latifah, or Jada, or Regina Hall at all. They all get their time to shine and flex their comedic chops, but Tiffany is far and away the runaway star of the film.
What makes her so great? She is a real ass person. You KNOW the Dina in your crew. Outspoken, outlandish, always ready for whatever… in fact, if your crew doesn’t have a Dina, I don’t know how you get by. Tiffany Haddish exemplifies that one friend we all know that was there with us through every fight, hangover, and celebration equally.
On top of being real… she is also ACTUALLY in the squad. To contrast let’s look at “Alan” from the Hangover or “Fat Amy” from Pitch Perfect or even “Megan” from Bridesmaids. None were immediately accepted by there individual squads. All are over weight and are borderline special ed at times. We do as much laughing at these characters and their lack of intellect, sex appeal, and over the top physical comedy as we laugh with them.
Conversely, Dina is a real member of the Flossy Posse from Day 1. She is also equally beautiful, fit, etc as the other women. We don’t find her funny because she is the “token”, she is funny because she is funny. Through her most ratchet moment, she remains grounded and relatable. When we can see ourselves (or our wild ass friends) in the characters on screen, it will always create a bigger, more lasting impact.
With “The House” and “Rough Night” flopping earlier this year, there was concern that the R-Rated comedy was dying. Girls Trip, however, is a real movie with an important message laying right there mixed in with all the jokes. You walk away learning about the power of sisterhood and friendship and strength, etc. When you get to the end, its easy to let out a Denzel Glory tear from all the sentiment shared in the closing moments.
It feels like they wanted to make a good movie first, then figured where to add in the jokes… while many other R-Rated comedies lately have felt like they started with the jokes and needed to make enough plot to link them together. If anything, the trailer is downplaying how good of a movie this really is. Hopefully Hollywood was taking notes… the fears of an all female and/or all black cast being profitable are null and void. A good story is a good story, and everything is made better with a little #BlackGirlMagic.