Summary: A woman is transformed into her younger self at a point in her life when the pressures of adulthood become too much to bear.
This will be a short review.
Cast and Characters. There are a lot of characters in this movie, all of the supporting characters do their jobs, they’re funny, cute (for the kids) and do what they’re supposed to do. The bigger standouts are of course our main characters.
Regina Hall as Jordan Sanders. Jordan is indeed a ruthless tech mogul. She almost reminded me of Miranda from Devil Wears Prada just a bit louder in how she talks to people lol. She’s incredibly smart and has big goals for her future but she has to learn how to take the ideas and suggestions from others in order to be successful. She is mean, like for real, rude and she feels that because of what happened to her as a kid, that she is owed to do this to other people. I like Regina Hall and I think it’s clear she’s having fun in this role. She doesn’t appear in most of the movie but in the beginning and the end, we get to see her transform (not that much) but still. Good casting.
Marsai Martin as 13-year-old Jordan Sanders. We get a grasp of her as an actual pre-teen early on which shows that Jordan is super smart. When we see her as an adult in her pre-teen body, she’s acting the way she acted as an adult. Entitled, rude and thinking the crowds will part for her. She of course learns quickly that she doesn’t hold the same weight as she did before considering she’s now a child. Throughout the film, we get to see Jordan struggle with who she has become and who she used to be and I think Marsai does a good job with portraying both sides to Jordan. She is afraid of becoming that girl she used to be because of the pain she went through in school. I totally get that. I also loved how she reacted to Trevor as both an adult and in her younger body because she gets to see herself through the eyes of someone who actually cares about her. Marsai is very expressive with her face which I think is a strong point for her. I was impressed with her (as I don’t actively watch Black-ish yet).
Issa Rae as April Williams. She is Jordan’s overworked assistant. She basically is always on her toes when it comes to doing whatever Jordan needs from her. It’s clear that she’s good at her job as an assistant but she’s determined to be more than that. I love Issa Rae, she’s so energetic and captivating whenever she’s on screen that I enjoy her no matter what. Her character is relatable as we all have worked with people or bosses who just burn our grits and she gets to react and say things that we have either said or wish we said. April wants to be a creative designer in the company and is worried she’ll never get there because Jordan won’t let her. It’s also nice to see her have her moments to grow as a person and become stronger. Issa is great in this human, relatable role, it’s where she shines, I think.
Charming and Hilarious. There’s a lot of charm in this movie, it’s done with pure intentions and I think it shows. It’s definitely from the mind of a child and while it’s not obvious (like with The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl) it’s done with love and respect for Marsai’s vision. It’s also extremely funny. I was surprised at how much I laughed but I think I laughed mostly as Issa Rae who is hilarious on her own. Marsai Martin also does really well whenever she is bouncing off other adults, particularly the scene with her teacher. How it’s shown in the trailer is pretty much what happens in the movie but it’s still funny. However, there is great comedic chemistry with Issa Rae and Regina Hall and Marsai Martin. They all really bounce off each other well.
Overall Story. So yes, you can compare this to BIG if you want, Marsai even said she was inspired by that movie, which is an honor. I think the overall point of the movie, is made strongly. Don’t forget who you were, be yourself and go after what you want. Jordan reverted back to her 13-year-old self because she had to remember what she felt in those years that made her into the person she was. She had to grow from that in a different way. April had to learn to go after what she wanted by being herself and not do things that would compromise who she was as a person. I think that’s a nice message to give to anyone who watches the film.
Formulaic/Predictable. I mean this is in the vein of all the comedies that came before it with similar stories so it’s hard to be original (other than the fact the leads are black women and she’s a TECH MOGUL!) but it’s really hard to take the story seriously when I can predict exactly what’s going to happen. Jordan goes back to middle school and think she’s going to be the Alpha female but is quickly put on her ass by the head cheerleader. Not to mention, she ends up being ridiculed by the other students and has to hang out with the other outcasts who she takes under her wing and all that kind of stuff. I mean it’s textbook. So mostly I enjoyed the movie for the humor and the performances.
Unbalanced. A big problem is the narrative in that we seem to want to focus mostly on Jordan and her journey but we also have a lot of focus on April and her journey and I think the movie gets bogged down by trying to juggle both parts. It manages to do it but it doesn’t make for smooth storytelling. At times the movie even seems to focus on April more than it does Jordan which is a bit of a problem as that’s not what the movie starts off with or even really ends with.
Unearned Realizations. In movies like this there’s also a big moment of realization after our heroines go through something that makes them really rethink their life choices. I felt the conversation between April and Jordan where they have this moment where they talk about this… I was like meh because while we did see them both experience things that put them out of their depth, it didn’t feel earned, particularly for Jordan because outside of that one talk with Trevor, what exactly did she learn? The whole point of being reverted to a child is to see the world as a child and to embrace the part of her that she let go. It happened for movie sake not because she really earned that realization. At least to me.
Overall, I think Littleis a really cute and charming movie. It’s extremely hilarious, I laughed quite a bit and the performances are really the stand out in the film. I do think the intended messages manages to make its way across even though the story narrative is unbalanced and it’s very predictable and I do think Jordan’s 180 at the end comes a bit out of nowhere especially as Jordan never really seems to embrace the whole feeling of being a child again which is usually the point of these kinds of movies. It ends up coming off shallow and that’s not what I would want for a movie that’s told from the mind of a smart and charming child. Otherwise, I think it’s worth the watch, especially as a girl’s night out.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Little? If so, what’s your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!
Summary: Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Now, facing pressure from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and stand up for what’s right.
Cast and Characters.
Amandla Stenberg as Starr Carter. 16-year-old Starr is stuck between two worlds. The world of her neighborhood, Garden Heights and Williamson, her prep school. She understands what it means to code switch depending on the people she’s around. One night she attends a party with her best friend, and she meets up with Khalil, a boy she knew from her childhood. They reconnect and when the party turns sour, she and Khalil escape and have moments in the car. Unfortunately, she watches as Khalil is murdered before her very eyes by a cop. She is stricken by this and has to continue through her life with something so horrific in her memory, in her bones and she struggles with the pain that she knows what happened. However, she’s afraid to say anything because she’s worried what that might do to her family. Also, King of the King Lords pretty much threatens her about dry snitching and what not. But Starr must find her voice in order for Khalil to find justice and to find peace for herself. It’s a powerful story to see told by a friend and a witness. I was a little worried about Amandla at first, I think she’s a good actress but I haven’t seen her play a part like this but she pleasantly surprised me. She does make these weird faces lol, which throughout the movie I was like “lol girl stop” but I know she can’t help it because it’s just her face lol. I thought she did very well with all the emotional bits. Definitely a movie to make her mark as more than just a YA adaptation actress.
Supporting Characters.I mean, everyone on this list are people we see quite often in the movie but I had to give Amandla her due above and then hit everyone else after. Everyone does very well in the film.
Regina Hall as Lisa Carter.A friend of mine was curious to see how she would do playing a role like this. I understand her concern but I had a little more faith in Regina Hall and I thought for what the role asked of her, she did very well. She was firm when she needed to be and she has some of the best facial expressions, very funny. I also thought she had great chemistry with Russell Hornsby. I do think her role got a little downplayed in the movie compared to the book but from what she was given, I thought she did well and was memorable as the mom. Some of the best moments was the moment at the diner and at the end when they’re all at Carter’s groceries.
Russell Hornsby as Maverick Carter. Outside of Starr, he really shines. I think I’ve only seen him in Fences, but I loved him here. He’s not exactly what I thought Big Mav would look like but he really played him the way I would want him to be played. The movie starts out with him telling his kids how to conduct themselves when faced with police and you can tell that he might have just gotten out of prison and he’s trying to make sure his kids understand. He did this face where he could kind of snarl whenever he talked and I liked that because it’s something I would imagine a man whose been through what he’s been through would do. I loved the way he talked to his kids, he may come off a little hard but it’s clear he loves them. He’s always on their side. He was also really funny, especially the prom scene. Again, with the diner scene where everyone did such a great job, but he did really good here as well since it was directly happening to him.
KJ Apa as Chris. First things first, when he first showed up, that dark hair was not doing him any favors. I can’t remember if Chris had dark hair in the books or not but KJ Apa was way to pale that it was kind of shocking. It grew on me as the movie progressed. Anyways, I liked Chris a lot. I thought he was cute and sweet and I understood his confusion throughout the movie. It’s hard to be in an interracial relationship when things are going on because it’s hard to know who to trust with your feelings and whether or not they’ll understand. That’s where Chris stood with Starr after the event. He was in the dog house in the beginning because of what he did before the movie, but throughout the movie he was in a state of confusion because he didn’t know what was going on. I think Chris is a good kid, I do wish we got to see a little more of him and that he was included in more things mostly at the end, I think it would have been nice to have that but I also get why he wasn’t there. I like KJ Apa, he’s likable (though not as Archie Andrews lol) and I liked the chemistry he had with Amandla and his introduction is like the best because he’s so cute! KJ just has this All-American-Boy thing about him where he’s just so earnest, he plays that really well.
Algee Smith as Khalil Harris. Ahhh Kahlil. I think Algee Smith is so cute. I haven’t seen him in anything else (No I have not seen that New Edition movie though I might watch it now because of him), but he has this light about him. I don’t know if it’s because of who he was playing but as soon as he walked into the room and Starr looked at him, I was like “he’s my favorite” and he’s just so sweet and likable that it sucks that he was murdered. When he and Starr meet up, they catch up and what I love about him is that when the fight breaks out, he didn’t leave her, he made sure she was with him so he could make sure she got home safely. While they were in the car, they reminisced and he thought of what could be and he says this line that made me go “Dang, where’s mine!?” *sighs* He’s super likable and I wish Justice for Khalil. Algee Harris is great, he’s charismatic, and I hope to see more of him. I did fan cast as one of my characters from one of my books lol, I see big things!
Lamar Johnson as Seven Carter. Sadly, I don’t think we got to see as much of Seven as I would have liked. However, I really liked him. He’s the product of a night between Maverick and Iesha (King’s wife? Girlfriend?). He clearly spends a lot of time with the Carters as he goes to school with both Starr and Sekani. He is very protective of both of them and he loves the Carters so much that when Iesha and King came to the funeral, he didn’t want to be with them but stay with the Carters. I mean, it makes sense as King definitely doesn’t seem to like him, though we never really got to see an interaction between King and Seven. There is a story line that gets passed to him where in the book it happens to a character they removed from the movie (I talk more about this at the end of this review), which was fine with me. It allowed the moment to be way more personal for everyone involved and I think it flowed seamlessly with the events before and after. It just made more sense that way. I also will keep an eye out for Lamar Johnson though because whenever he was one screen, my eye did go to him.
Issa Rae as April Ofrah. What can I say about Issa Rae, hahaha that rhymes. But she doesn’t have a HUGE role but the role she plays is perfect for her. Issa Rae is likable no matter what she does. She plays this woman who stands up for justice and she encourages Starr to find her voice for Khalil. She’s great. Boom.
Sabrina Carpenter as Hailey.There are two of Starr’s best friends from Williamson but Hailey gets a little more screen time in that she is the person closest to Starr at Williamson who doesn’t understand. It’s hard when you’re trying to be two people and suddenly your worlds collide and people don’t get it. Hailey doesn’t get it. Sabrina Carpenter is really likable, I mean I still wanted to kind of hit her but her character isn’t supposed to be likable and I just felt like she was really ignorant.
Common as Uncle Carlos. So, I think this was perfect casting once I found out about it and I think Uncle Carlos is a good and interesting character. He’s a cop which makes him on both sides of the situation and puts him in an interesting situation. He’s there when Starr calls him and I’ll talk about him more. I think Common is fine in the role, mostly with what they gave him.
Anthony Mackie as King. I think Anthony Mackie is a fantastic actor and I’ve seen him play villain roles before. I was a little worried though because physically he doesn’t look like how I would picture King who was described as a big man and Mackie looks younger than Maverick especially with them seemingly growing up together and Big Mav being his right-hand man. We don’t see him a ton but when we do, he’s in the background mean mugging, or threatening people. Anthony Mackie is good in roles like this though so I think he’s great and he’s quite intimidating lol.
TJ Wright as Sekani Carter. I don’t have much to say about him but he’s really cute and they did a little something different with him at the end that I didn’t expect. It was actually a great moment and it really worked for what the message of the movie was. This kid was great. Kind of reminded me of the little boy fromBlackish, he really embodied the meaning of his name.
The Family. It’s very important that the Carter family feel like a real family and be strong. There is a lot of history with what happened with Maverick and even the stuff between him and Uncle Carlos. I loved that the movie started out with Maverick talking with a young Seven and Starr about how to conduct themselves in case they’re pulled over by the police. It’s a very important conversation that all black families should have and it set the tone from the beginning. It set the tone of the movie and the tone of the family. Throughout the movie, we see a beautiful love with Lisa and Maverick. A cute sibling relationship between Seven, Starr and Sekani and a great relationship with the parents and their kids. It’s important to note that Lisa is not Seven’s mother but she treated him like her own son. I loved that the movie made sure we saw they were a family.
Relevant Story. No matter what you think of the movie overall, the story is relevant to what is going on today. Khalil was unarmed. Yes, he reached into the car and grabbed his hairbrush but why does no one ever shoot to disarm or shoot a taser? Why is it always shoot to kill? Sure, you’re in fear of your life but both of them were harmless, they didn’t even look like they were trouble other than the fact they’re black. We see Starr struggle throughout the movie with speaking up, we even learned that what happened with her other best friend as a kid, and how she didn’t speak up then. A lot of people go through that, no knowing whether or not they should “snitch” or speak up when they witness something because they’re afraid. Starr deals with grief and then she sees what happens with her family and Khalil’s family and she has to make the choices whether or not to live for Khalil.
Khalil’s Death. Not a spoiler since you know it from the trailer and what not, but it doesn’t lessen the blow when it happens. Starr and Khalil are having a great moment in the car, they talk about THUG LIFE, music and childhood and it’s so cute. Algee and Amandla have great chemistry and it’s so cute to think of the future. Anyway, they drive off and get pulled over and Starr thinks of what she learned as a kid. Khalil is a bit more frustrated because he’s not sure what he did. Watching the scene unfold knowing what it leads up to is very tense and then when he gets shot, it felt like I got shot three times because at this point, you like Khalil. We don’t get to know him that much since it’s basically 30 minutes into the movie but he’s likable and you like him. Starr is hysterical and the cop puts her in handcuffs and she’s trying to comfort him… it’s just so much. First scene of the tears and I still can’t forget it. I couldn’t forget it in the book either.
All the Feels. I think I cried like five times in the movie. I don’t expect everyone to cry while watching it but if you don’t feel anything, or don’t care about anything you see then, one, you’re made of stone and two why are you even watching this movie? lol being that this kind of thing happens in real life, it’s hard to not picture the people you know and love in these positions. When all of the death was happening a couple of years ago, it seemed like it happened every day, I had a moment where I just hugged my youngest brother because he’s tall, he’s black and I couldn’t bear the idea of losing him like that. So, I get it. It doesn’t happen constantly, there’s a lot of laughs in the movie too, but it’s very realistic.
Would you Shoot? Starr and Uncle Carlos have a moment in his kitchen after the family gets shot at in their house. She’s talking to him about it and he tells her what it’s like to be a cop on the force and it’s intense. I totally get it. It was a great scene and you can tell that he really wanted her to understand just what all of that meant, but at the same time, you can tell from her that she expected something different from her uncle being a black man on the police force. What he was saying is probably true for most cops, I don’t know, I’m not a cop, but he’s right, it is the world we live in and it sucks. Great moment from both Amandla and Common.
Get out the car! There’s an entire scene that happens from this diner all the way to the Carter’s house. Big Mav and King have a moment and the police show up and well you can guess what happened. So, everyone has high emotions because of what happened and Starr says something that triggers Maverick and he makes all of the kids stand out on the lawn and recite a part from the Black Panther’s Seven Point program. He then tells them what their names mean and it was such a powerful scene. It quickly became a favorite in the movie.
Starr and Hailey. There’s a scene particularly towards the end where Starr and Hailey get into it. I won’t spoil it but Hailey basically makes a comment about the hairbrush and Starr snatches the one that’s in Hailey’s book bag pocket and makes a point. It was a great scene. In the book they have a physical fight but I actually think I liked this better just because it makes an important point. Amandla did great in that scene.
Uncle Carlos. He’s not a bad character nor is Common a bad actor (he’s inconsistent but he’s fine), I just think they didn’t end his character on a good note. He’s supposed to represent the other half. He’s a cop which could make it hard for Starr to completely want to give up on all cops because of her uncle. They had a great relationship in the book and I think in the movie it was kind of implied that he was a large part of her life while Maverick was in jail, but I don’t think they played it up enough. I mean he was really important and he should have been way more in the movie. While I liked the conversation, they in his kitchen, it showed what cops might go through when out in the field, I don’t think they ever gave him the chance to really show that he was on Starr’s side. I think that was an issue because he needed to be and should have been. I don’t want to compare to the book too much but in the book, he gets into a fight and put on paid leave… that should have happened because it shows both Starr and the audience that he was still on her side. Common was perfect casting for him, but they really missed the mark on what to do with his character. Plus, he and Maverick have beef… it would be well founded but they don’t give it time to marinate before it’s finished. Meh.
Seven and King. In the movie we learn that Seven is the product of Iesha and Maverick having a night together. Something happens towards the end of the movie with Seven and it kind of came out of nowhere. Outside of King making a comment to Kenya and Starr about Seven’s name (though you can’t really talk King…) they never have a moment to really show that King doesn’t like Seven or anything of that nature. I think there should have been a moment or a few where King may look at him funny, or they have an argument, or something that would have made the part at the end make sense and not just some extra drama.
Overall, I loved The Hate U Give.For one, I think it’s a great adaptation of a fantastic book and I was thrilled that it for the most part kept the essence of the book. As a film, I think it was handled really well. All of the characters serve their purpose and I think audiences can identify with Starr with what she went through. I can’t imagine everyone going through what she went through but Amandla Stenberg does a great job playing the part. There are times where her facial expressions look really funny but she manages to push through the funny faces and really deliver a performance I think is her best. She had me by the heart strings. I loved the family dynamic and that they felt like a real family and how they reacted to each other like a family would. The story is extremely relevant in the situation and I think it’ll hit close to him for a lot of people. There are a lot of GREAT scenes as well that I think are extremely memorable. On the flip side, I think Uncle Carlos received the short end of the deal in that his character should have been used more and been more of a lifeline for Starr in that he was a cop but someone she looked up too. I also think the relationship between Seven and King should have been used more because it comes to a head at the end and it’s random. BUT I loved the movie and I think it’s a must see!
Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars.
P.S. There’s a couple of spoilers down here.
Khalil’s hairbrush: In the book when Starr and Khalil get pulled over, he is told to get out of the car. In the book, he opens the door to check on Starr and then gets shot, he doesn’t even get the chance to ask Starr if she’s okay, or at least to finish the question. In the movie, I was worried because the trailers showed that he actually reached for his hairbrush when it was actually in the side of his door that the officer thought was a hairbrush. Khalil never reached into the car, he never pulled anything out the car. I was worried that would change the situation and the narrative. Either way, Khalil should not have been killed but I think with it obviously being a hairbrush, it actually takes away the element of confusion because the cop clearly saw the brush. I don’t know, it’s kind of…hard but either way I wanted to mention it.
DeVante:So, I mentioned in the book review that I thought the DeVante storyline I could take or leave. I liked it but it could have been cut out and I wouldn’t have missed it. I knew they would probably cut it out of the movie and they did. I totally get why too. All the stuff that happened to him was outlier and was there so Maverick could have a way to save someone since he couldn’t save Khalil but I think he had enough to do with his family. In the book, DeVante gets beat up by King. Seven (who is driving) takes Starr and Chris with him to go and get him. In the movie, Chris is driving and it’s Seven who gets beat up. I like that because it keeps the story personal. Sure, Chris doesn’t have the chance to get close to DeVante like in the book, but for the movie sake he didn’t need to. I liked that it was Seven because it was more personal for Starr and for Iesha who uses that moment to save her children. That’s way more powerful I think than her trying to save DeVante. That’s just me though.
Girl’s Trip premieres July 21, 2017.
Summary:The film tells the story of four lifelong friends who travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Music Festival, where sisterhoods are rekindled and wild sides are rediscovered.
Cast and Characters. So, I’m only going to mainly talk about the main four women with the inclusion of two male characters because they’re the more important male characters. All the leading women have their own issues, sometimes things are obvious and sometimes it’s learned as it goes along.
Regina Hall as Ryan. She is an author, she and her husband have a brand together that inspires other people. Ryan is a business woman, she’s classy in her attire, in the way she presents herself and it seems like she is the most level-headed out of the group. She keeps her feelings to herself and bottled up, she has a tendency to judge people a bit to hard, and she definitely has her fears, denials and pain. Without spoiling her arc in the film, I really liked her and I identified with her a lot in some of the things she does, mostly with her feelings, and I was like wow, really close to home BUT I thought that Regina Hall did a really good job. I never really considered her that great of an actress but this is definitely some of her better work in that I didn’t think she was trying to hard. It felt natural to me. If I had to label her she is the “classy/sensible” one.
Queen Latifah as Sasha. She was a journalism major in school, she started off as a serious journalist but she let that go to become a tabloid writer (with a website online). There is a rift between her and Ryan and she has her own personal struggles that she keeps to herself. She was a bit of a fashionista but you can’t help but to wonder just how low she would possibly go to do her job. You’re just not too sure with her. I don’t think she has much change to go through in the film, I mean she does end a bit differently than she does in the beginning but she also seems consistent in who she is throughout (along with Dina). Queen is always great, her comedy is great as always, the dramatic parts she handles well, I love Queen.
Jada Pinkett Smith as Lisa. Lisa is definitely the “mom” of the group, she dealt with love and divorce and the only one of the four with kids. She is very much involved with her kids and is very… uptight which is apparently not what she used to be. Everyone has hope that this trip will loosen her up while also enjoying time with a man lol. She is very against this but she does begin to loosen up and her storyline is connected a lot with Kofi Siriboe, which there is a great scene with some grapefruits lol. Lisa also tries to be the mediator between the group, especially between Sasha and Ryan. She has a nice little arc as well.
Tiffany Haddish as Dina. Dina is the funniest of the group, she also seems like the youngest one (that might also have to do with the fact that the actress is younger than the rest as well). She is the wildest, she is willing to do things, to try new things and does not care about it in the least. Dina is also the loyal one while also being the freak. A lot of the laughs come from her, a lot of ridiculous things that happen is because of her and her facial expressions. There were a few times where she annoyed me in her jokes, or humor but that’s the friend she is and it was endearing a lot of the times. I’ve never seen Tiffany Haddish in anything, especially seriously, and I thought she was good in her role. Her comedic timing was really good for a lot of her jokes and reactions to things.
Mike Colter as Stuart. LUKE CAGE! He is Ryan’s husband, I think he played some sport, but his role of course is with her while also being part of their brand due to her book “You Can Have It All”. He is smooth, charismatic and good-looking *swoons*. His purpose is served. Mike Colter does it well.
Lorenz Tate as Julian. He is an immortal because he looks the SAME! If anything, he looks sooo better now but he looks the same. Julian is a musician, he shows up throughout the film and helps the ladies out in a jam, he seemed to have a thing in the past with Ryan. Julian is very likable which I think Lorenz Tate helps the most with that. Julian is likable period but Tate really makes him lovable due to his boyish looks and approach. He’s great. *swoons* Love him.
The Humor. The film is hilarious. My audience in the screening was definitely great but it’s very funny. There is a lot of different types of humor, a lot can be reactionary for the characters which makes the moment hilarious. Dina is the source for a lot of laughs, and Lisa’s situations are funny. There is a great scene with some dangerous alcohol that is one of the best comedic scenes in the film, has a lot of “The Hangover” feels to it. It is very sexual, which you don’t always see in films with women, at least not like this, which also makes it great because we have a group of black women doling out this kind of humor.
The Fashion/The Location. The clothes these ladies wear are beautiful! Dina wears some awesome clothes with great colors, kind of eccentric! Ryan of course has the more classy type of clothing which I loooooved, Sasha had this funky style and Lisa has the motherly style that the others change by giving her clothes to wear lol. The film is set in New Orleans during The Essence Festival which allows for great set pieces in the town, on the road, with the music. Colors, music, outrageous stuff in the backgrounds. It was a great place to set the film.
There was a great reference to an older film when they go into this club. I won’t spoil it but I loved it.
The Sisterhood. This film banks on these four women having chemistry with each other, while allowing the audience to believe their friendship. If they didn’t work, then it would be impossible to believe that they were friends since college, but Hall, Queen, Pinkett-Smith and Haddish makes it believable. The way they talk and treat each other feels like a real friendship, especially a friendship that was long but strained by time and distance. It was realistic. The emotional and dramatic moments between them were fantastic and each woman sold their role in their group of friends. When they fought it didn’t feel like acting, it felt like there was actual history there. Plus, there is nothing like seeing black women bask in something that highlights and celebrates them in the Essence Festival, and each other. Their friendship being boosted by the Essence Festival was so beautiful that I think any black woman (especially with her girls) will feel happy to see this.
The Story. So the story is pretty basic in that Ryan is going to the Festival to be a keynote speaker and she uses this experience to bring her friends back together after about five years of being apart. Even though the story is cliché in that a group of friends come together, have fun and stuff is revealed that causes rifts etc. the way it’s handled in the film, doesn’t feel stale. I think a lot of that has to do with the actresses and not necessarily the script itself.
Cliche. Like I said, the story is pretty basic which prevents the story from being a major highlight of the film. It’s important but the characters are what drives it forward instead of the story just happening around them. But the idea of them not seeing each other in years, getting together due to some reason (Ryan’s speech), funny things happen that possibly bring them closer only for them to be pushed apart etc. it’s all very cliché movie storylines.
Crude/Humor. Humor is very subjective and I think it’s important to note that the humor in this film doesn’t hold back, and it’s very raunchy and crude and that might be too much for some people. It’s not really a problem for me but it’s something that I recognize for those who weren’t expecting it. It can be a little much. There are also times where it doesn’t always hit. It’s not a lot of times but there are times.
Overall, I really liked Girl’s Trip and I had to wonder if I liked it because of the audience I had in my screening or if I actually really liked it (since I liked it) and after deliberation, I decided I did really like. I think the cast was great in their roles, especially the four core ladies, their friendship was believable, they were honest to each other, to the audience and to themselves. They felt like real friends. I think the film would have failed on being another raunchy summer comedy if it wasn’t for Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Tiffany Haddish’s rapport with each other and their likability. Each lady is actual very likable. The sisterhood is the core of this film, it’s the humor, the emotion/drama and main reason to see the film. They are great. The drama is also good, and handled very well, it felt real and not like a film in a movie. It’s very funny, the comedic timing of the characters, especially Tiffany Haddish (which makes her a standout) is very good and when it hits, it hits very strong. On the other hand, I can imagine some people not being able to handle the humor, I know that it doesn’t always hit and sometimes it’s more uncomfortable than funny. The story is also cliche which is saved by the actresses and their chemistry together.
Rating: 4.39 out of 5 stars.
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**Summary: John and Laura Taylor (Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall) are a young, professional couple who desperately want a baby. After exhausting all other options, they finally hire Anna (Jaz Sinclair), the perfect woman to be their surrogate – but as she gets further along in her pregnancy, so too does her psychotic and dangerous fixation on the husband. The couple becomes caught up in Anna’s deadly game and must fight to regain control of their future before it’s too late.
Cast and Characters. I personally didn’t find these characters very “anything special” but because the actors are good in their roles. It’s parts of the characters I found silly.
Morris Chestnut as John Taylor. He’s a lawyer trying to make partner in his firm, he’s against using Anna in the beginning as their surrogate, he wanted to keep looking but he loves his wife so he trusts her judgement. Chestnut is always fine (lol pun intended) and he was. His character was probably the only one I could take seriously. He was the only smart one.
Regina Hall as Laura Taylor. She’s a chef, who has come a long way from Scary Movie, but she’s eager to choose Anna to be the surrogate and she’s the one who I blame. John wasn’t sure about her but Laura got caught up in the “Shyness” of Anna that they agree to work with her, which in a way makes sense, she’s a woman who desperately wants to be a mother and this young woman has charmed her. Hall plays that well, someone who wants this so badly she is willing to listen to someone spin a story and believe it. Also she looked great in that red dress.
Jaz Sinclair as Anna Walsh. I liked her for the most part, I didn’t mind her that is. She is definitely beautiful but there were parts of me that couldn’t take her seriously. Looks too young to be trying to play “sexy”, I don’t know if that’s the point or not but meh. There’s other problems with the character, which I appreciate them trying to push in there outside of just being “crazy” but… I’ll get to that later. She plays shy and nice pretty well, and she plays scary pretty well too and as her first lead role, I’ll give her a thumbs up.
Cinematography/Sets. The movie looked really nice, the way it was filmed was very crisp and clean and the sets were also beautiful. The Taylor’s house was beautiful and I had a touch of house envy… (Screen Gems loves to make these types of movies and their houses are all big like this, nothing wrong that but just saying, it’s a trend). The lake house visited later is also beautiful, the location around the house was shown enough to be pretty. It’s set in New Orleans and we see a touch of Mardi Gras but that’s about it.
The title. I thought it was kind of cool, it didn’t hit me till my friend started singing the nursery rhyme before the movie but they of course played the song and used it creepily in the film.
Cliche and Predictable. The problem with movies like this is that there are so many of them that if you don’t do something new, it’s old, stale and annoying. There are some elements that are “new” including the “surrogate” thing and another addition to Anna’s character that I don’t want to spoil. There were a lot of things that I said “oh this is going to happen…” and it did. It’s because I’ve seen it many times before.
Screen Gems is the studio who put this out and I knew that name was familiar and it’s because they did Obsessed, No Good Deed and The Perfect Guy. Which none of those films I particularly liked very much, they’re all predictable and lame. The actors in them (minus Beyonce as she’s not an actor to me) are people I like and will see movies in them if they’re not the same type of story recycled but boy these people know what they’re doing and we just keep going to see the same movie repeatedly. Well, I didn’t pay for Obsessed, but the other three (including When the Bough Breaks) I did.
Mark Mitchell. He’s Anna’s boyfriend in the film and that dude was terrible. The acting was over the top and campy, every time he was on screen past his first scene, I was irritated with him. It was like the director him “make the creepiest face you can” and every time he was in a scene, he tried outdo his last creepy face scene and it didn’t work for me.
Stupidity. Why in movies like this, do characters always have these big houses with 50 million windows? Or why does everyone follow the noise they hear? Or don’t ever call the police? Or actually believe what are obviously lies? I mean I know it’s a movie but at some point the stupidity is annoying.
No Suspense. I didn’t find it suspenseful, as opposed to movies like No Good Deed or even Obsession. Anytime Anna’s character would look creepily from behind bushes, or a window, I didn’t wonder what she was going to do next. Anytime, the music would build as someone is about to see something, or something’s about to happen to them, I was just like meh. Which is unfortunate as the movie builds as a suspenseful “thriller”.
The Dialogue. Oh my goodness. Too many stupid lines that I just couldn’t ignore. Morris Chestnut has this horrible little “monologue” he says to his wife near the beginning of the movie and I couldn’t help but to laugh at how silly it sounded. The dialogue was pretty consistently bad.
The Romance Factor. I’m trying not to spoil anything, even though part of me doesn’t care enough to keep trying BUT outside of what seems like a solid marriage with Regina Hall and Morris Chestnut, the whole thing with Anna falling in love with John was just stupid. At first I thought it was going to be a trick to get their money (which honestly would have been a better twist) but then it turned into the typical sending sexy video messages, calling over and over, showing up at his job, trying to make sure his wife doesn’t come to important meetings etc and it just irritated me. They could have done something else!
The Crazy. Again, they tried to give Anna reasons to be crazy but considering how things turned out, it just started getting annoying. Also, lol we know she’s about to turn up the crazy because she changes her hairstyle, which was very cute. I had hair envy.
Missed Opportunity. I was a bit miffed at the fact that in the last third, there’s a few scenes where I feel like Laura should have been more involved. It’s after Anna sees John and Laura together and she really loses her mind, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. I understand they didn’t want things to go too bad because Anna was pregnant, but after giving birth, I feel like Laura should have gotten a chance outside of her one moment at the very end. In all their other movies, the women got to kick some butt. I guess they wanted to give that honor to the man this time? lol
The Ending. Ugh. Just ugh.
Overall, whatever. The movie wasn’t very good to me, I enjoyed it I guess, just because it’s mostly ridiculously funny and there are some pretty good parts but the bad outweighs the good as you can see here. I think Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall are both too good for this movie and it’s kind of unfortunate that Jaz Sinclair’s “breakout” role is in this film. I hope she gets better roles in the future. I love to see black movies but can we stop with this type of subject matter? We’ve had four movies now that are the exact same film, just with slightly different elements. If there’s going to be a thriller, give us a real suspense thriller. No Good Deed was the best out of all of them.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars (I feel like I’m being generous though).