Did someone call for a Girls Trip?
From the time the trailer for the film was released Facebook event invitations crept into my inbox, friends created group chat, and brunch was laced with talk about how good this movie would be. I, indulging in the hype, giddily purchased tickets in advance.
Opening weekend did not disappoint, Girls Trip reportedly took in $30.4 million this weekend. Theatre’s all over were sold out, but thanks to a little preplanning, Sunday evening I took my preassigned seat and snuggled into my chair, situated myself with a cherry coke and an extra large popcorn, and prepared to swoon as I watched four women embark on New Orleans for Essence Fest. It was perfect, but as the movie crept forward I couldn’t help but feel as if I had been here before. My Girls Trip felt eerily familiar and in less than 20 minutes, I was overwhelmed with the feeling of Deja Vu and I just could not shake it.
What happened? The film included a star studded cast, with Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall and newcomer Tiffany Harris as the main characters to resurrect their long time friend group, ‘Flossy Posse’. Appearances included Mike Epps, Larenz Tate, Puff Daddy, Maxwell, Mariah Carey, New Edition and more. It promised me a rated R experience, which I received more or less, and non stop humor, to be fair there was some humor. However, it was not enough to dazzle me into believing I was watching anything new.
Sure, the setting moved from Las Vegas to New Orleans. Yes, it appeared to be a long winded advertisement for Essence fest. A blatant attempt to market to older, single African American women? Weaved throughout the film without shame, even remarking in script “single women are an even bigger market” . Nevertheless, the movie rang true with Hollywood sameness, and after about one hour of debauchery and stunts, this girl began checking her phone to see when the lights would come up.
Even when providing audiences with full frontal male genitalia, friendship drama, music performances, and showing off the beautiful city of New Orleans, the movie was- dare i say it… boring. It dawned on me that I had not seen this movie once, not twice, but several times. This ‘Girls Trip’ had been reiterated in multiple forms over the years- first there was the hangover, featuring white male bachelors, then there was Bridesmaids, similar plot featuring single white females, Think like a Man too gave us the same script, except this one was for African American couples- and in 2017 we had arrived here again.
The premise the same, four friends who have grown apart agree to a carefree weekend leaving all their worries behind. The trip serves as a therapeutic vacation from all of life’s worries, as they party with locals, do strange drugs, meet celebrity idols, and have sex with men out of their league. There is hunching, sex jokes, hallucinations , girl fights, and drama only to be tied up in a nice message promising that in the end all that matters in life is our college friendships. Yawn!
Perhaps those box office numbers were not much of a surprise, after all the movies predecessors raked in similar numbers. The Hangover brought in 44 million dollars its opening weekend and its sequel doubled that at 85 million. Bridesmaids, another film promising an adventurous trip with friends in a city where anything is possible, opening weekend box office numbers reached 26 million dollars and 2014’s Think like a Man Too brought in 29 million dollars. So when Girls Trip reached, 30.4 million it was almost as if by design.
Hollywood, I am bored. Friend trips are fun, but after seeing this movie redone year after year I would rather take the trip than watch it on screen. As much as representation matters let’s rely on more than name recognition and overdone formulas to fill seats… by like, I don’t know, making something new perhaps?