Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Girls Trip ★

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    A note to the reader: I just want to make this crystal clearI am not a woman, nor am I a black woman. I know nothing about the intricacies of sisterhood and womanhood, and I will not pretend as if I have the faintest inkling on the subject. But I do know film, and this review is a straightforward, free-flowing statement describing, in as much detail as possible, my thoughts on this particular movie. This is purely the opinion of a beat writer with an extensive knowledge of the medium.

    With that being said, "Girls Trip," a film that is unapologetic in its vulgarity and rotten humor, does everything in its power to showcase the ups and downs of this sororal clique, yet it does little in the way of women's empowerment, and the entire production reeks of immaturity. (More to the point, it is a movie solely for the braindead and feebleminded, and it's an enormous waste of one's time.) The story is simple enough: Four women, separated by life's unpredictabilities, come together for one last shindig, which in this instance, takes place at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, Louisianathe ideal setting for humor heavy on the lewd and crude. There's Sasha (Queen Latifah), a struggling journalist turned tabloid reporter; Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith), a recent divorcee and the "responsible" one; Dina (Tiffany Haddish), a risk-taker who, I guess, is the funny one; and Ryan (Regina Hall), a well-established author and television personality.

    At this juncture, I usually delve into the plot and begin to dissect any discernible themes, but what's the point? ("Girls Trip" is a long-winded raunchfest, and the movie's licentious material will have film fans feeling more disgusted than cheerful.) Is the script really that unpardonable? Well, let's see: There's an overuse of the F-word and N-word, talk of stuffing illegal drugs in one's "booty hole," a discussion on how to perform oral sex with a grapefruit, and several references to male genitalia which I dare not utter here. All told, this sinfully sordid affair should set back women's equality a decade at the very least. (Sober moments are in short supply, but even when they do surface, the movie cannot separate the sincere from the unsavory.)

    I mean, I get it. No one is going into "Girls Trip" expecting anything other than brainless comedy. The problem, though, is the film's scattered air and its weak attempts at empowerment. (A subplot involving infidelity is confronted head on by the movie's end, which, I suppose, is meant to give female audiences an inspiring take-home message, but the damage had already been done.) Would it have killed the writers to tone down the folly so that their message would be more viable? Apparently.

    I've never been a fan of these types of pictures; I hate to see such talent wasted on projects that have more slapstick than smarts. (Pinkett Smith is the only bright spot amidst the heap of incomprehensible trash, and I applaud her for her efforts.) Coupled with last month's "Rough Night," it seems that Hollywood is determined to depict women behaving badly (and enjoying themselves while doing so), but this reversal of formula is far from flattering, and I just can't stand behind it. I know what you're thinking: Why should men have all the fun? Admittedly, male conduct on the big screen has historically been less than honorable, but that is our nature. Allow me to put it this way"Girls Trip" isn't a good look for anybody.

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