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Girls Trip - Avoid This Nasty Adventure! [MOVIE REVIEW]

In Girls Trip, the decades have passed and four college friends Ryan (Regina Hall), Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith), Dina (Tiffany Haddish), and Sasha (Queen Latifah) travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival. They are determined to have a GOOOD time and unleash all inhibitions.

Girls Trip is a Trip. It’s vulgar, crass and disappointing. This barrage of crudeness is ultimately the film’s undoing. There is a constant referencing to women as the “B word”. And, the “N word” and MFs are flying everywhere. There’s nothing funny about someone suspended in air urinating on the people below. This happened twice! Dina is sexually tempted by a filthy, old, homeless man who exposes himself to the group.

The characters are stereotypes fitting comfortably into pigeon holes. Tiffany Haddish, who I have to admit I had never heard of before, as Dina, is loud, crude, damn near a nympho. On the other hand, Lisa is matronly, prim and proper, and blindly devoted to motherhood. Sasha is the struggling one who’s trying to keep up a façade of financial and career success while things are crumbling. And then there’s the highly successful Ryan whose fairy tale marriage to former football star, Stewart (Mike Colter), is marketed as an example a woman who’s having it all.

The storyline involving Ryan and her husband is substantive and interesting. His ability to smoothly rationalize his misgivings is nothing short of amazing. Unfortunately, his talent and the film’s attention to worthy scenes are lost in a bombardment of B.S.

I am embarrassed for Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, and Jada Pinkett Smith because they are all talented actresses. And I understand that there’s a paucity of quality roles for black women in Hollywood. But, Girls Trip?

Further, I don’t know where they got the “guy” who’s hairless, lotioned, lady legs are featured in the film’s poster. Real men don’t shave their legs – unless they’re swimmers.

Girls Trip is written by Kenya Barris who penned Barbershop: The Next Cut. That film featured black men of dignity and character. I wonder why he chose to write such trash for women.

Girls Trip also trips up when it comes to casting diversity, earning a C-. We have to be fair in discussing diversity. Other than Kate Walsh who plays Ryan’s agent, Lara Grice, a TV exec, and a few minor roles, this cast is all black including individuals in the background.

Directed by Malcolm Lee and produced by Will Packer, Girls Trip has a modest budget for films today, $28 million. It’s rated R for crude (you can say that again), sexual content throughout, pervasive language, brief graphic nudity, and drug material. Girls Trip is 122 minutes too long.

Sorry girls but your trip is Dead on Arrival!

Movie Review: Barbershop: The Next Cut

This trip to the barbershop is worth it

It's been a long time – 10 years to be exact – since Calvin's Barbershop last opened. The two stalwarts, Calvin (Ice Cube) the owner, and Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer) who has worked in the shop since Calvin's father was owner are back in their lead roles in Barbershop's third iteration, Barbershop: The Next Cut. Common and Lamorne Morris play Rashad and Jerrod, two of the other barbers at Calvin's.

Barber Shop Photo Common Cedric The Entertainer Ice CubeBarbershop: The Next Cut cast from left to right: Common, Cedric The Entertainer, and Ice Cube

The shop which in an earlier version expanded to include a salon for the ladies has also expanded discussion topics from the old list of politics, social issues, and the opposite sex. Those same topics are now enhanced by a verbal battle of the sexes. Angie (Regina Hall) is co-owner and runs the salon. Nicki Minaj and Margot Bingham play stylists on her staff.

Barbershop: The Next Cut is the best one yet! It's funny, dramatic, well-written enriched by great performances. It deals with a catalog of compelling issues: marriage, parenting, dating, urban violence, interpersonal relationships and racial stereotypes.

I am usually not a big fan of films telling urban stories. They often project images with racist stereotypes just as offensive as those that were commonplace in the 1930s and 40s: black characters who are dumb; steal; lie; and who are excessively violent.

This story is about people who range in intellect, values, and goals. It accurately reflects the complex and diverse variety of people in the black community.

The writing is one of the keys to this film's success. The funny lines come at a machine gun rate. Eddie describes the young thugs in the neighborhood as "a bunch of conjugal visits gone wrong". There is the use of the "N" word. And I have always maintained that is not necessary. A creative writer can pen authentic dialogue without using that slur.

The director Malcolm D. Lee takes full advantage of Minaj's "assets". Her breast and butt are on screen so often that they could have been listed as co-stars!

As to our cast diversity rating, Barbershop: The Next Cut, gets a "D". Truthfully, this is not a diverse cast. It is almost an all-black cast, save an Indian-American barber who works at Calvin's and a few white characters thrown in at the end.

Barbershop: The Next Cut is more than just a comedy. It's exceptional filmmaking. It's rated P-13 and is 152 minutes. It gets our highest rating: See It!

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