After watching the rumbustious trailer for Girls Trip, you would be forgiven for writing off Malcolm D. Lee's latest big screen offering as just another raunchy, laugh-out-loud movie, with tired Hangover style gags and cliched Girls Gone Wild moments. But Girls Trip is more than that.
With four black women leading the charge, the film offers fans strikingly different views on what it is like to be a 21st century woman while adding a layer of complexity by throwing femininity, love and class into the mix.
The premise is simple. College friends the 'Flossy Posse' reunite after five years at the Essence Festival in New Orleans, where Ryan (Regina Hall) is due to give a keynote speech supported by her 'perfect' former footballer husband, who happens to be cheating on her with an Instagram model.
Ryan is the next Oprah having built on empire teaching other women how to have it all. Enabler Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith) is a former party girl who has lost her groove following the collapse of her marriage. Queen Latifah is investigative journalist Sasha, who resorted to celebrity gossip-blogging to pay the bills and Dina (Tiffany Haddish) is the outspoken, yet fiercely loyal, friend.
What ensues is a weekend of debauchery, bonding and redemption. Scenes of public urination, the demonstration of an oral sex technique using a grapefruit and banana and the type of swearing a sailor would be proud of have earned the movie its entry in the sub-genre of R-rated.
Although the female-driven comedy at times rehashes old jokes, Black-ish creator Kenya Barris and screenwriter Tracy Oliver's carefully crafted script makes the staleness of a familiar setting and predictable character types largely unnoticeable – and there surprising heartwarming moments. These are, after all, women dealing with the many trials of adulthood.
Watch the Girls Trip trailer here:
"One woman is every woman and the themes in the film are universal, even though we could be different ages and experience different things," Pinkett Smith recently told the BBC.
Lee, the director that brought us The Best Man, is skilled at nurturing the chemistry of his cast and gets it right again with the foursome making for cinematic gold. While Hall, Latifah and Pinkett Smith bring their star quality to the screen, the breakout star of the movie is definitely Haddish. The 37-year-old's wayward character Dina steals nearly every scene.
By the end of the movie, the foursome − having hashed out old resentments with a bar brawl and faced their shortcomings with admirable courage − emerge as better, and shinier, versions of themselves in a way that is credible and empowering.
For all its X-rated gags, Girls Trip never strays far from its main messages: The importance of female solidarity and living your truth.