Four old college friends take a trip to New Orleans in this raunchy, freewheeling comedy
There are four members of the “Flossy Posse”: Ryan (Regina Hall), “the second coming of Oprah”, regal and never more beautiful (“It’s like travelling with Beyoncé!” one character remarks); uptight single mum Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith); gossip-blog maven Sasha (Queen Latifah); and foul-mouthed party girl Dina (Tiffany Haddish, a rollicking, scene-stealing presence). College besties who haven’t reconnected in five years, they take a girls’ trip to the Essence festival in New Orleans for a weekend of raucous, boozy fun – and fun it is.
Directed by Malcolm D Lee of The Best Man films, and written by Kenya Barris (black-ish) and Tracy Oliver (The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl), the film’s female-led cast and barrage of raunchy gags will inevitably draw comparisons with Bridesmaids, but its bombastic set pieces, freewheeling energy and focus on friendship reminded me more of Magic Mike XXL. Absinthe-fuelled hallucinations, a gut-busting zipline, a dance-off and a “grapefruiting” demonstration: some of the comedy veers into the absurd, but each joke squarely hits its mark. The supporting characters, such as Ryan’s dopey agent (Kate Walsh, a perfect comic foil) and the “Instagram model” threatening to ruin Ryan’s marriage (Deborah Ayorinde), are playfully sketched, but it’s the lived-in chemistry between the central quartet that is the film’s secret weapon.