The raunchy, heartfelt “Girls Trip” takes the “Hangover”/“Bridesmaids” formula — four college friends, now in their early 40s, reunite in New Orleans to get their individual and collective grooves back — and gives it some black flavor. Directed by Malcolm D. Lee (“The Best Man Holiday”) from a screenplay by Kenya Barris (TV’s “Black-ish”) and Tracy Oliver (“Barbershop: The Next Cut”), the setting is the Essence Musical Festival, allowing for cameos by everyone from New Edition to Puff Daddy; the main characters are prayerful Christians; and the melodramatic subplots are clumsily Tyler Perry-esque.
Media mogul Ryan (Regina Hall), “the second coming of Oprah,” discovers her husband (Mike Colter) is cheating, and Sasha (Queen Latifah), a struggling gossip blogger, might have to leak the story to save her own career. Meanwhile, former party girl Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith) is now a frumpy divorced mom who needs to get laid, and the psychotic fourth friend (obligatory), Dina (clear MVP Tiffany Haddish) is a whirlwind of breathless obscenity and moral turpitude. The interpersonal dramas are labored, the story erratic (they check into a lousy motel long enough to get some comedy out of its filthiness, then move to a better place before even spending a night there), but the movie earns laughs whenever it goes for them. It’s too long … but no more so than “The Hangover” or “Bridesmaids.” Score one for representation?
B- (2 hrs., 2 min.; )