Universal Pictures 122 minutes R
Gross, gorgeous and giggle worthy describe this slick trip flick which is a raunch fest. Think The Hangover with a cast of African-American beauties who bonded in college. They go on a no holes barred (literally) reunion in NOLA. That’s New Orleans, the city known for debauchery. There is overindulgence on every level including drinks, drugs, cat fights, dance battles, male and female nudity, and language that would make your Mother very upset. But the audience at our screening was howling. There are so many shockingly funny moments.
Ryan is a beauty queen played by the stunning Regina Hall (Barbershop: The Next Thing, Think Like a Man). She has the life women dream about and has put it in her book “You Can Have It All.” She and her hunk of a former football star husband, Stewart, played by Mike Colter, are celebrities on the brink of a major breakthrough.
Ryan’s agent, Elizabeth, played by Kate Walsh, is awkward. She ingratiates herself to Ryan by trying to talk Black and is even more awkward working to win her client the big contract. But there’s more going on behind the surface with Ryan and her husband. She is invited to be the keynote speaker at the Essence Festival in New Orleans and she decides it’s as good a time as any to reconnect with her college girlfriends. There she runs into an old friend, musician Julian (Larenz Tate) who turns out to be a real friend.
Queen Latifah is Sasha, a gossip blogger who gets the dirt and exposes it à la TMZ to try to make a living. She and Ryan have had issues in the past and they are still sparring. Jealousy and resentment run thick. They think they all know each other so well, but do they?
Jada Pinkett Smith as Lisa is divorced with 2 young kids. She has pretty much given up on love and dresses like a prude. She’s into a medical career and not sure at all about going on a bender with her college sisters. Wait till you see what comes out of her mouth after she has one too many special drinks and tags French Quarter patrons with a golden shower from her stalled zip line. And she is able to change her look and have her own sexy time with amazing male specimen she meets in The Big Easy, played by Kofi Siriboe (Oprah’s TV Queen Sugar) series.
As if that’s not enough, there’s Tiffany Haddis as Dina (Keanu, The Carmichael Show) who always goes so over the top we thought this was an X rated movie from the first words out of her potty mouth. She’s always so happy with her bad self. In a way, that’s engaging.
The film is labeled hard R, aptly, for raunch. But after awhile you accept Dina’s constant sex laden behavior. She has no inhibitions and no filter spewing descriptions about every bodily function and body part. Some of her lines are just groan worthy. Some are just outrageously and nervously funny. She has attitude and personality to burn!
Director Malcolm D. Lee was able to get these four ladies to do stunts you would not think they’d go along with at all. One minute they’re sweet, the next, they’re vixens. They must have had a great time. And the clothes, hair and make up make them look drop dead gorgeous. Each woman has her own look as well as her own story line. The closeups are amazing. Writers Kenya Barris and Tracy Oliver who both worked on Barbershop: the Next Cut, did a good job making them hang together. They must’ve had laughed themselves silly working the fast paced dialogue these gals deliver so well.
Setting their reunion at the Essence Festival is nothing short of brilliant because it gave the filmmakers an opportunity to spark the film with snippets of music from performers like Diddy, Ne-yo, Common, Mariah Carey, Ava Duvernay, Morris Chestnut, Estelle and many more. Dina getting up on stage with Diddy is one classic scene.
You could blush and laugh nervously at the ridiculous situations these four fun loving ladies get themselves into. This is a film that takes “Bridesmaids” and “Trainwreck” up a notch. Wonder if men will go to see it, too. And who says women can’t have a blast watching girls be just as raunchy as the guys!