Wow. This movie is absolutely bonkers. It is also alive in ways that most comedies simply aren’t. Roaring, dancing, punching and laughing from start to finish, this is a movie with actual heart.
And I don’t just mean that it has some message about friendship and loyalty and being true to yourself, though it has plenty of that (surprisingly, all of it earned). Rather, it has the feeling of having burst into the world fully formed and charging out of the gate like some kind of comedy beast from a hallucinatory sex, drugs and hip-hop cinematic dimension.
It’s hilarious. It’s filthy. It’s over the top in every conceivable way. And if we’re truly living through the early stages of a female-driven comedy revolution, this needs to be the new gold standard.
Is that surprising? It certainly was for me since, at first glance, I figured this was just yet another film I was being assigned because I’m the new guy around here and no one else could be bothered with it. But I’m telling you, I loved this movie. I wanted these friends to be my friends. I wanted someone to insult me or bump into me on the way out of the theater just so these ladies (my new best friends, remember) could run up and knock the goddamn daylights out of somebody. Of the three new major releases this week, this is unquestionably my favorite.
OK, now, having said all that, this is not a great film, at least not in the sense that Get Out or Logan was great. But what it lacks in pure technical virtuosity, it more than makes up for, because those films didn’t have Tiffany Haddish up their sleeves. Haddish’s stunningly foul-mouthed performance as Dina alone is worth the ticket price, as she essentially buries every other comedic character you’ll see on screen this summer. Which would be bad news for her bigger name co-stars Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, and Regina Hall if their characters weren’t as equally fully realized and lived-in as they happen to be.
Back together after years of getting off-track due to careers, family obligations and just the general march of time, these four friends (“the Flossy Posse”) land in New Orleans as Ryan (Hall), best-selling author of self-empowerment tome “You Can Have It All,” is set to be a keynote speaker at Essence Fest. Jealousies, rivalries and cheating spouses ensue, but the standard-issue plot never gets too far out of hand or overly sentimental, save for one speech toward the end, but I’m giving that one a pass since, again, it’s actually true to the characters.
While it does start to feel like every minute of its two-hour run time in the back stretch, the sheer lengths the film is willing to go to in order to entertain more than carries it along. And if Haddish doesn’t become a household name after this, David Lynch has some words for you: “Fix your hearts or die.” Rated R for crude and sexual content throughout, pervasive language, brief graphic nudity, and drug material. Now Playing at Carmike 10, Carolina Cinemark, Regal Biltmore Grande, Epic of Hendersonville.