Black Girl Magic and Grapefruits Make 'Girls Trip' a Must-See Film of the Summer

Universal Pictures

The summer 2017 box office calendar promised us laughter. It also promised that we’d see girls behaving just as badly as the boys. Girls Trip and Rough Night were promoted as the raunchy femme answer to The Hangover and the direct descendant of the ultimate R-rated female comedy Bridesmaids

However, what we got from summer 2017 was a series of comedic flops -- with Will Ferrell seeing his lowest box office returns with The House, reboots like Baywatch and CHiPs failing to land with audiences, and Rough Night ultimately earning less money to date than last year’s big hit, Bad Moms, did in its opening weekend.

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“You know, comedies haven’t worked this summer. They’ve been having a hard time. Audiences have not been coming out in droves for comedies,” Girls Trip producer Will Packer admitted to ET’s Kevin Frazier at the film’s world premiere. “We’re trying to do the impossible -- we’re trying to go and open a comedy in the summer, when comedies haven’t worked. I’m a little nervous.”

So why is Girls Trip set to save the summer for comedies? Chalk it up to nostalgia, grapefruits and Tiffany Haddish.

Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah are reuniting on screen for the first time since 1996’s Set It Off -- a piece of trivia that Girls Trip makes creative use of. And in the era of #BlackGirlMagic, seeing four black women (Pinkett Smith, Latifah, Haddish and Regina Hall) starring in a film feels important, but the cast insists that it actually means so much more. In short, it is not just a “black movie.”

“It’s a woman’s movie and a guy movie too,” Smith shared emphatically. “I’m really proud about in regards to this movie is that it’s starring four black females, but the movie is not black -- in the sense of it has a universal theme and it really is a movie that all people, men, women, from all different backgrounds, can appreciate and have a good time with.” 

“What so great about the movie is that you identify with each character; and if you aren’t that character, your friend is that character," Hall said. "And that’s what was so great in us coming together, because I really felt like each of us embodied those characters so well.”

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As Ryan Pierce, an Oprah-esque mogul in the making, Hall leads the crew (known as the “Flossy Posse”) on a wild weekend in during the ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans. Latifah plays gossip columnist Sasha, Haddish is wild child Dina and Smith rounds out the group as divorced (and dowdy) mother of two Lisa. “There is a part of me that really is Lisa. I really had to look at that like, ‘Oh, Jada, [you’ve] really kinda been in a domesticated slumber for a while,'" Smith shared before admitting she didn’t know who Migos was when she heard the group on the radio.

While Girls Trip features much of the usual ‘good girls go bad’ type of behavior -- with some sexy man candy (Queen Sugar’s Kofi Siriboe) and plenty of gross-out moments -- it’s the NSFW scene with a grapefruit that will have audiences laughing for years to come. That scene and many of the film’s funniest moments come courtesy of Haddish, an actress on The Carmichael Show who will surely have a breakout summer. “I’m just really excited about all the buzz. It makes me feel good. It makes me feel like, you know, all the work I’ve been doing all these years is paying off,” she said.

Critics' reviews for the film have been favorable so far, but those directly involved are more interested in audience reactions. Hall shared the reception she’s heard at fan events, saying, “People are shocked at how much they laugh. They’re shocked at how much heart the movie has, you know. I think just all around, you know, they’re proud.”

“So many women were hitting me up on Facebook, saying they wanted to come and see this movie and they want to watch it with me,” Haddish added, promising to pop up in more theaters to watch the movie with audiences.

Given the success of last year’s Bad Moms (whose sequel, A Bad Moms Christmas, comes out later this year), what about a Girls Trip 2? Hall said “we need to go somewhere to turn down,” while Latifah was angling for the girls to take a trip to Rio de Janeiro.

It seems like anything is possible if the film is a success and Latifah summed up the buzz perfectly. “This is a movie you need to see. I don’t know what you been watching this summer, but nothing is going to be as funny, as off the hook or talked-about as this movie,” Latifah predicted.

Girls Trip is in theaters now.