There wasn’t much new to watch at the movie theater this weekend unless you wanted to see “The Emoji Movie.” I didn’t want to see the that movie, and so I saw “Girls Trip” instead.
Ever since 2009, we’ve had bro-friend and girlfriend group movies. Personally, I’ve see “The Hangover,” “Last Vegas,” “Bridesmaids” and, now, this one.
To its credit, “Girls Trip” does more to establish the loyalty of friends to each other than its predecessors ever did.
The plot is this: One of four college friends, very successful, is seen as the next Oprah and has written a book called “You Can Have It All.” When she is asked to give the keynote speech at the annual Essence Festival in New Orleans, she invites the other three to join her. They learn in short order that she does not, in fact, have it all, and they form ranks to protect and help her.
It’s a vulgar comedy — zipline pee jokes, grapefruit oral sex jokes, male nudity and absinthe-induced hallucinations. Scenes like these now are expected in this this type of film. The audience in my theater understood this and enjoyed “Girls Trip” enormously.
After I got home, I went back and re-read the plot synopsis from the first of these, “The Hangover.” It’s much, much more crude than “Girls Trip,” and it has more than a whiff of misogyny to it.
On the upside, serious actresses including Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith are in the ensemble, and there are snippets of musical performances (Ne Yo, Diddy) from last year’s Essence Festival. A new-to-me actress, Tiffany Haddish, stole scene after scene playing Dina, a fiercely loyal friend with no dimmer switch, and she seems destined for fame as Melissa McCarthy was after her star turn in “Bridesmaids.”
Movies like “Girls Trip” are not just formulaic — they are shaping the culture. For the second year, I am spending some months in downtown Nashville, which has acquired a regional reputation as the go-to spot for bachelorette weekends, prenuptial bonding events for brides-to-be and their bridesmaids.
Recently, the local paper described how a classy 20-year-old company, NashTrash Tours, has stopped accepting bachelorette groups for its smutty, alcoholic entertainments. Turns out bachelorette groups misbehave too much for the NashTrash people.
Similar bachelor groups are not banned. The guys seem to behave themselves better.
Plus, I never have seen an African American bachelorette party in downtown Nashville.