Girls Trip

Content Caution

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Bob Hoose

Movie Review

Ryan Pierce wrote a self-help bestseller called You Can Have it All. And frankly, after marrying her handsome, former football star hubby and hitting the talk show circuit, anyone looking at her life would think that she does indeed have it all. But … things aren’t quite so perfect as all that.

Her husband, Stewart, looks great and talks a good game. But he’s really a philandering jerk. He’s sticking around for the celebrity perks and in hope that their public “married bliss” might land them a big-money talk show contract of their own.

Ryan, however, needs a break from it all. She’s willing to go along with their marital façade for the possibility of a big payoff. But she’s sure not happy about Stewart and his latest Instagram-model paramour.

So when the Essence Festival in New Orleans asks Ryan to be a keynote speaker, she hatches a wild brainstorm. It’s been too long since Ryan and her best friends from college, the so-called Flossy Posse, have had a reunion. If anything can raise Ryan’s spirits, it would be spending a weekend with her besties again.

Truth be told, the other members of the posse need a fun weekend away just as much as Ryan. Gossip blogger Sasha has gained her own brand of fame, but things have been financially lean as of late. Single mom of two, Lisa, has lost all of the sassy fire she used to have in the wake of a bitter divorce. And Dina, the wildest of the group, just got bounced out of her latest job.

So it’s time.

They all need to strip down, juice up and cut loose. And let the Flossys fall where they may.

Positive Elements

Poor choices abound here, as we’ll soon see. But eventually Ryan publically fesses up to the fact that she’s been faking her happy marriage out of fear for what the truth would do to her business. She says that it’s important not to lie about someone else’s bad behavior, and that it’s vital to “find your own worth.” “No one has the power to shatter your dreams unless you give it to them,” she declares.

And though the Flossy Posse friends often give one another utterly unwise advice, they do have one another’s backs in times of need.

Elsewhere, a good friend of the girls, a college bud named Julian, runs into the Flossy’s on their wild weekend. It’s obvious that he has long-held romantic feelings for Ryan. But he always makes the wise, gentlemanly choice, even when she is not exhibiting similar wisdom. Julian helps the women out of trouble on a couple occasions.

Spiritual Elements

The film sports a very peculiar spiritual disconnect, especially when it comes to the character of Dina. She is the most raucous and crude of the group but can shift “spiritual” gears in a heartbeat with absolutely no apparent awareness of that incongruity.

For instance, after repeatedly encouraging Lisa to have sex with any random man, Dina crudely and graphically sings the praises of one man’s anatomy, then suggesting that “the good Lord” gave Lisa access to it. Then she immediately falls to her knees to earnestly thank Jesus for her friends and their weekend.

Sexual Content

Ryan, Sasha, Lisa and Dina may be getting together for a dose of well-needed R&R, but sex is pretty much the only thing on their minds. One of the women crudely declares that sex daily is “medicinal” after hearing that Lisa has been abstinent since her divorce. Then the sexual floodgates are unhinged.

While crudely encouraging Lisa to have as many sexual partners over the weekend as possible, they go on crudely about size, shape and quantities of male and female genitalia. They chat about various orifices and what to do with them. Conversations range from masturbation to sexual readiness, from pubic hair to prostitution, from sexual positions to the female need for multiple and frequent partners, to intricately imagined forms of sexual torture for a cheating man.

Visually, we see a homeless man stand in front of a large window with his pants down. The camera gazes at all his naked details as he pushes his crotch onto the glass. Later, a completely naked young man runs around with only two pieces of fruit covering his genitals. A visual gag uses fruit for an oral sex lesson. One character’s mostly bared breasts (she’s wearing pasties) are exposed. Two of the women are involved in a drunken, clothed sexual encounter. A groping prelude to sex takes place in a bathroom. In a separate scene, three of the women hear the fourth having sex in another room.

The camera examines a group of women closely as they compete in a dance-off full of suggestive moves. Characters wear revealing outfits that hug their curves and sport very low-cut tops. We see a picture of Stewart making out with a buxom woman. Dina straddles a guy while he peddles a bike, and Lisa gets up on a guy’s shoulders and ends up swinging around so that his face is in her (clothed) crotch.

Mariah Carey makes a cameo singing on stage dressed in, well, not much.

Violent Content

Dina has quite a violent streak. She’s fired from her job for beating up a male coworker. We don’t see the fight, but we do get an eyeful of the man’s bruised and bandaged face. Later she punches several different people, slams someone’s head down on a table top and holds a broken bottle to a guy’s throat. The other Flossy Posse members follow suit and start a fight of their own, pounding and slamming a group of women in a dance club.

Crude or Profane Language

About 45 f-words and more than 20 s-words. “B–ch” and “a–” are the next two most common profanities at around 20 uses each. “H—” and “d–n” get a handful of uses. We hear the n-word about five times. Jesus’ name is misused twice.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Alcohol abuse abounds, as characters partake freely throughout the film. They drink everywhere: on the plane, in clubs, in their hotel room, on the street. At one point Dina even buys a bootleg bottle of Absinthe and secretly spikes everyone’s drinks with the hyper-powerful liquor—sending them all into hallucinatory trips. And then when the hallucinations fade … they order another round of shots.

Dina confesses to smuggling marijuana past airport screeners by hiding it in her “bootyhole.” We later see the women all in bed together puffing a joint, obviously quite stoned. Someone picks up a burning candle and drinks melted wax while completely inebriated.

Other Negative Elements

Two women urinate on a crowd of people in the street below them. Sasha makes racially tinged comments about white people’s actions. Lisa talks of putting birth placenta into food.

Conclusion

Every movie made is aimed at a certain audience. Even Girls Trip, the latest offering in the growing trend of raunchy female-led comedies, has an anticipated army of expected female supporters.

That audience is apparently comprised of viewers who’ll chuckle at the sight of women constantly talking in crudely sexual ways, then translating their words into seamy, booze-fueled actions. They’re the sort who’ll spit out their popcorn when a gal firehoses a crowd with an overfull bladder, and guffaw at the Full Monty sight of a grubby homeless man pressing his bared genitals into a window. And they’ll even run out and write reviews that talk glowingly of the film’s “empowering” qualities for a female audience.

Call me the guy who pointed out that the Emperor has no clothes, but frankly, I don’t understand any of it.

By the time this flick squeezes in a scene showing its female protagonists doing anything thoughtful or wise, we’ve already sat through an hour and three-quarters of their crass, self-destructive choices. This sleazy, gal pals gone wild flick is anything but empowering to female audience members—or anyone else, for that matter. It simply encourages impressionable viewers to go out and act in similarly reckless, drunken and debauched ways.

And isn’t that a sad state of affairs?

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Bob Hoose
Bob Hoose

After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.