The weirdest thing happened before this movie started. There was a buzz in the crowd about how bad it was going to be. One person a few rows behind me said, “Well, at least it’s only an hour and 23 minutes if it sucks.”
Two other critics came over talking about how bad it would be.
Now, my wife and I both thought the trailers for it were awful, but as I’ve said about comedies — sometimes they can be sloppy and have enough laughs to make them worthwhile. I’m still surprised at how often I laughed at The Spy Who Dumped Me last year (and my wife is surprised at how often I laugh watching Step Brothers when it’s on TV).
I might be the only person that didn’t think Girls Trip was funny, although I got a kick out of watching Tiffany Haddish. A lot about her works in comedies and on talk shows.
Rose Byrne surprised me by stealing so many scenes from Seth Rogen in Neighbors, so she proved she could be funny. Casting them as best friends and roommates seems like the perfect fit. Casting Salma Hayek as the evil, rich CEO was also a smart choice. Most people probably missed her playing that same type of character (but not cartoonish) in The Hummingbird Project a few years ago.
Mel & Mia is the name of the cosmetic business Mel (Byrne) and Mia (Haddish) started as teenagers, and they now have a store front as well as online business. They’re having some financial difficulties, and in one of the first of many times I thought to myself — why doesn’t that character just tell the other character what’s going on? — and before you know it, they’re rescued by the biggest name in cosmetics. That company is run by Claire Luna (Hayek), and she pays off their debt in order to take a few of their ideas, and in an effort to own a majority of their business. In a scene where they’re all signing contracts, my wife leaned over and said, “Aren’t any lawyers present?”
We’re merely told, as documents are signed, that Luna gets 49% of the business, with the stipulation that if Mel and Mia fight (huh?), she gets to take over a 51% share. Any guesses on what’s going to happen after that? Yeah, this movie is pretty formulaic.
My wife may have wondered where the lawyers were. I wondered were Mel’s hair stylist was. How could she be so savvy when it comes to make-up, yet not realize her dyed blonde hair with jet black roots looked utterly ridiculous.
I loved the Syd Barrett reference to employees, but NOBODY will get that (he was the original singer of Pink Floyd).
So many times, the script felt like a hack comedian wrote it. Someone sneaks ghost peppers into food, and we watch as the victim tries to gulp water and stuff bread into their mouth for the pain (for a way on how that type of scene can be done well, they could’ve checked out Rose Byrne’s movie Bridesmaids, and the facial expression of Maya Rudolph that concludes the scene).
The climactic scene felt like it was stolen from Amy Schumer’s also unfunny film I Feel Pretty. In fact, a few scenes reminded me of the Schumer flick (but, she’s a comedian known for stealing jokes; so let other screenwriters steal from her films).
The supporting cast was solid. Jennifer Coolidge the least so (and I’ve loved her wacky supporting characters in so many other films). Wonderful stand-up Jimmy O. Yang isn’t given a lot to do, and a side story with him and another guy who are straight guys in the cosmetic business, never really goes anywhere.
Jacob Latimore was fun as the booty call with a heart of gold.
Karan Soni, who is funny doing deadpan in the Deadpool films (and you should seek him out in the great indie Safety Not Guaranteed)…does a great job as the snotty assistant to Luna.
Natasha Rothwell (Love, Simon) and Ari Graynor (The Sopranos) garner a few laughs as friends of Mel and Mia, but Billy Porter steals the show. When we witness his tragic moment — it’s perhaps the most FAB-U-LOUS firing you’ll see on screen this year.
It’s a shame the first 30 minutes had a handful of jokes that worked, but the film kept going downhill after that. As the person said before it started…at least it was only an hour and 23 minutes.
It’s a shame the chemistry this duo had was wasted by an unfunny script.
1 ½ stars out of 5.