“GIRLS TRIP” is coming to Blu-ray on October 17th. It was one of the hit comedies of the summer movie season and now the laughs can be enjoyed at home. With the addition of a great collection of special-features as well. Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and Tiffany Haddish lead the cast.
Directed by Malcolm D. Lee this story follows four lifelong friends that get back together for a trip to New Orleans to attend the Essence Festival. With life having taken them in different directions the trip will rekindle old dynamics and expose hidden ones. They also run into tons of wild moments along the way as they rediscover the value of friendship.
The concept of old friends getting together for a trip is not a new angle in Hollywood. But this film shows that when that concept is given some heart, some well-written comedic angles, and is injected with some fresh elements, the result can still be a highly entertaining film. Such was the case with “Girls Trip,” a film that took me by surprise and left me laughing even after the end credits rolled. This is the definition of a raunch-com so we warned. But if you don’t mind some vulgar humor, then buckle up because it’s an over-the-top string of laughs from start-to-finish.
The cast was fantastic and their performances were all they needed to be to create some naturally engaging characters you can invest in as the story progresses. They all have enough substance to fuel their actions and it adds some heart to their characters which keeps them from feeling like performers simply doing a comedic bit. The dialogue was so comically written it could have stood on its own, but through the performances it is heightened greatly, resulting in endless laughs. The comedic tone focuses on the raunchy humor but it does feel tailored to each of the characters personalities which does create a subtle variety to the hilarity.
Tiffany Haddish is the least ‘known’ of the cast but after this film those days may be limited as she comes in with the shining performance of the film and in doing so creates some of the more memorable moments. She brought energy to the movie with nearly every scene and even though some of her material felt mildly forced it was still humorous and grounded enough to create great comedy. The rest of the cast all have their individual moments to create some amusement and they all work consistently well in landing a laugh. There were also many great group moments as the women play off one another and the organic moments, and their chemistry, were outright hilarious at times.
The story-line focuses on the laughs but there is some heart to the story. It pays enough attention to give the story some purpose which helps in giving reasoning behind actually caring about how it will end. There were a few subplots that all wove nicely into the main plot of the film and it creates a great balance and flow between laughs, character development, and story progression. It doesn’t try to do too much and doesn’t wear out its welcome. Those are my thoughts on the film. Now let’s get into the collection of bonus-material included with the Blu-ray release.
Deleted Scenes (Optional Commentary by Director Malcolm D. Lee)
Every film has footage that hits the cutting room floor and this film offers seven scenes with the option of having commentary from director Malcolm D. Lee. He goes over each scene and talks about his overall thoughts on the particular scenes and why it didn’t make the final release. Without commentary the scenes are a fun watch. Most are extensions of other scenes that sort of over implied things the story had already conveyed so it is easy to see my many didn’t make the cut for pacing and time constraints. One scene involving Queen Latifah was hilarious but most of them, while they are entertaining to watch, were not needed for the finished cut.
A film that delivers the amount of comedic volume that “Girls Trip” does is bound to have a lot of outtake material before various scenes got their final takes and this lengthy featurette proves just that. Admittedly it does start out a little slow but the laughs ramp up and watching the performers ad-lib the material was hilarious at times. The segment works its way through the progression of the film and some of the flat-out hilarious takes that went on before the final delivery was filmed provide entertaining levels of amusement. In particular, the material from Tiffany Haddish who was the star of the film as well as the bonus content with her natural charm and charisma.
Planning the Trip
Chemistry between the cast members was one of the strongest elements to this movie and this featurette provides some insight as to why. This segment discusses the films origins from the bottom level. The concept of four African-American women, that were lifelong friends. With life having pulled them in different directions and what would the possible story be in they got together for a wild weekend in New Orleans. Director Malcolm D. Lee and producer William Packer talk about selecting the four lead actresses and how chemistry was always a focus. This segment is effective in capturing the fun the cast had in their roles during filming and the friendships that were real off-screen. Thus, making the onscreen result so much more natural. The commentary also includes the cast members themselves as they all deliver their own insight to the characters, the premise of the film overall, and it does provide some depth to the film.
Of all the things this film had going for it, nothing could outshine some of the wild scenarios and situations that take place throughout the story. From the grapefruit scene, to the zip-line sequence, there were some wildly comical moments and this segment goes through some of the more memorable of them. Commentary from the filmmakers and cast take a deeper look at these sequences and what the mindset was for pulling them off with a comical result. These sequences were outrageous like the title of the featurette, and it was equally comical to see how these moments were filmed and what was going on in the minds of the cast. Making this one of the more amusing segments in the bonus material.
The Essence of NOLA
New Orleans was more than simply the location for this story-line. It was subtle, but the backdrops of New Orleans provided the overall film a specific vibe that complemented the story perfectly. The on-scene shoots provided unique ‘living backdrops’ to the story-line and the incorporation of the Essence Festival brought an added energy to the story elements. This featurette gives a nice in-depth peek at the thought process behind selecting the location for the story and why the filmmakers wanted to include the life of the city into the film despite some of the compilations and logistics. This segment showcases some beautiful locations and over the commentary provides a behind-the-scenes look at some of the on-scene filming that took place, cut in with some of the final film-footage.
Extended Performance “Because of You” by Ne-Yo
This was a nice addition to the special-features for any music fans. This segment provides the full performance of R&B singer Ne-Yo’s “Because of You” from his scene in the House of Blues. The location was a nice backdrop to this performance and while it doesn’t headline the special-features, this unedited performance does compliment the bonus-material very well.
Those are my thoughts on this Blu-ray release of “Girls Trip” it was a fun, hilarious comedy that also packs a solid collection of features including commentary over the film by director Malcolm D. Lee if you choose to enjoy the film in that format.