…and sometimes, they actually be trippin’, as in, taking trips to vacation destinations. Such is the case with the fun-seeking foursome in last year’s comedy hit, Girls Trip. It’s a raunch-filled rollicking romp, and the first major motion picture with four black female leads in quite some time.
I already talked a bit about the kinds of things in movies I find scary or funny. I suppose I should address another aspect of cinema–black movies. Or movies featuring majority-black casts. Or Afro-centric, or however you want to refer to them. Anyway: Do I, as a black person, get more entertainment from black movies? Hard to say–I’ve only ever been a black person, so I’m not sure how I would perceive these films as another ethnicity. What I can say is, often there are things in these films that are very familiar to me, almost second-nature, in fact, that other races of people may have never seen or heard of before.
Case in point: Tiffany Haddish plays Dina in Girls Trip. Dina is… obnox-no–outspok-no, that’s not quite it, either–the bitch is crazy. Maybe not clinically, but she’s definitely the cray-cray kind of crazy. Many critics and casual viewers will say that Dina is the best part of the movie. They say she steals every scene she’s in. Even the zip line scene, which started out as Lisa’s funny moment, got turned (or turnt) up another notch by Dina.
I’m willing to wager that someone like Dina can be something of a novelty to non-black folk. As for me, I’ve known people like Dina all my life. Some of them are even in my family. Does that make her less funny to me? Well, yes, and no. Though I chuckled at some of her antics, Dina’s shtick wore out on me long before the movie was over. This is nothing against the actress–Haddish was just doing what the script instructed her to. She plays a completely different kind of character in her previous film, Keanu, so the lady can act. But right around the time that Dina explains at length all the things she wants to do to Ryan’s cheatin’-ass husband, I felt my eyes starting to roll. O-kay, we get it, you’re crazy.
We find out early on that Dina’s the crazy one, Lisa’s the sexually-repressed one, Ryan’s the “perfect” one whose life is really crumbling apart, and Sasha’s the broke one, who’s maybe or maybe not willing to sell out her friends to keep her bills paid. Their vacay-cay takes place during the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, and the celebrity cameos abound (I’m not even sure most of the celebs even realized that they were gonna end up in Girls Trip).
Overall, I thought it was…OK. It was definitely too long. Several scenes could have been cut, like the part where they put on neon wigs and have a dance-off against some random skanks in a divey club, and Dina’s grapefruit dissertation could have been half as long as it was. Wacky madcap comedies do not need to be two hours long. Especially, if they use that last half hour to get all sappy and preachy. This movie was three parts Soul Plane and one part Waiting To Exhale. And everything ends in typical Hollywood chick flick fashion, with everything tied up in a nice neat bow and the girls on top. You can’t have it both ways, movie. You can’t spend the first 90 minutes of a movie displaying over-the-top, borderline criminal hijinks (peeing on someone without their consent is assault, fyi), then expect to be taken seriously for the last 30. If you’re gonna start wacky, finish wacky (wackily?). And no, lying in bed, passing a joint, while ogling a picture of a dude’s anaconda does not constitute “wacky.”
This won’t be listed alongside some of the classic black-cast comedies like Coming To America, I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, or House Party, because it was just OK to me. And I don’t grade black movies “on a curve,” just because I’m black, too. Two out of five stars.