Black Girl Magic and Grapefruits Make 'Girls Trip' a Must-See Film of the Summer
By Angelique Jackson
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.
“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.”
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
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.