For the record, there is no hotel-to-hotel zip line on bourbon street in New Orleans. So, after seeing Malcolm Lee's latest film "Girl's Trip", don't run to your computer to book a trip to the Big Easy just to ride the zip line, because it doesn't exist. But that doesn't diminish the fact that one scene is one of the funniest scenes in film - rivaling the food poisoning scene in "Bridesmaids" six years ago.


To be sure, there is nothing really original about this hilarious African-American comedy; it grabs raunchy moments and puts a female spin on it. It takes what originates as a friends weekend and adds mostly predictable mayhem.


There are color-by-number gags and pranks we have recently seen in at least a half dozen films over the last six or seven years - "The Hangover", "Bridesmaids", "Identity Thief", "What Happens in Vegas" and others. The locale is different, the casting is different, and the scenes are specifically tuned the African-American female audience. That doesn't mean everyone else won't like it, just expect a lot of audience feedback (hooting and whistling).

The cast this time are four gals - Ryan (Regina Hall), Sasha (Queen Latifah), Lisa (Jada Pinket Smith), and Dina (Tiffany Haddish). They grew up together as Flossy's Posse but have drifted apart over the last five years. Ostensibly, Ryan is the most successful with a personal growth brand that she developed with her ex-football player husband Stewart (Mike Colter).


She is the honored guest at the Essence Festival in New Orleans, where she will also launch a new product, and decides to hold a reunion with her old friends. Sasha has a celebrity gossip website that is teetering on bankruptcy, Lisa is divorced now a devoted mother, and Dina is recently fired and horny as ever.


The reunion starts out as planned when suddenly a bombshell lands in the middle of their good time...Ryan's perfect marriage is a mess because Stewart is having an affair with a social media hottie named Simone (Deborah Ayorinde). This is the beginning of the fun as they try to cope with the news while trying to have fun.

Of the four, Dina is the most vocal and the focal point of most of the comedy. Most, but not all of the funniest scenes belong to her. The most hilarious scene features Jada Pinkett Smith's Lisa character and reinforced by Tiffany Haddish's Dina. The zip-line.


There is also a drugged out scene that borrows heavily from "The Hangover" but compacts the ensuing mayhem into the second funniest scene. By then, you will be in the laugh mode and the rest of the film breezes through. I mention this because the film is a healthy two hours long, but doesn't feel that long.


There is a typical schmaltzy friendship lesson thrown in there, but is as casual as you can get keeping the film a bona fide comedy and not preachy. The editing by Paul Millspaugh is superb as $28-million film successfully erases the extraneous mechanical fixtures and is designed to maximize that audience participation.


Regina Hall and Queen Latifah gave a typical performance - steady and mostly believable as the two most success driven girlfriends. Jada Pinkett-Snith rehashes her "Bad Mom's" character as a nurturing mother. But it is the [relative] youngster Haddish who steals every scene she is in. She takes the raunchiness that Melissa McCarthy flashes and makes it uber sexy! Her scene with Sean Diddy Combs is a riot!


This is not high-brow comedy, but is comedy perfectly suited for a weekend in New Orleans which is the United States original sin-city. Using the Essence Festival was a great way to parade a generous lineup of star cameos.


"Girls Trip" is a hilarious blast. It is well-timed raunchy and often sophomoric humor layered fine tuned for the expected mostly female audience. But don't worry, everyone should have a good time laughing at these four gals.   -- GEOFF BURTON