Reviews of Landline; Girls Trip
Many comedies premiere each year, but not all of them are memorable or even funny in many cases. The year 2017 was a particularly good year for this genre, as seen with such films as the Landline and Girls Trip, two of the funniest and wittiest movies to come out this summer. Using different approaches, they both managed to make us laugh and even feel nostalgic at times.
Directed by Gillian Robespierre, Landline brings together Jenny Slate, who also appeared in Robespierre’s directorial debut Jay Duplass; Edie Falco, who starred in the award-winning series The Sopranos; John Turturro, who recently starred in HBO’s The Night Of and Abby Quinn. Revolving around the personal crises of all these characters, who are intimately related and struggle with conflicts typical of their different ages, Landline is set in the 90s and manages to recreate the atmosphere of that decade with subtle humor, from the fashion and the music to emerging neo-hippie trends. Reflecting on the choices we make in life, the fragile bonds that tie us to others and how we rely on their support and the relations we establish with them to move forward, Landline and its fantastic cast manages to deliver a message that is not as original as the homely — and very honest — way in which it transmits it.
From a different angle and focusing on the relationship between four friends, Girls Trip is a daring comedy starring Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall and Tiffany Haddish. Directed by Malcolm D. Lee, who is now preparing his next comedy along with the multifaceted, stand-up comedian Kevin Hart, Girls Trip was a box office success. With a sense of humor that may seem too explicit at times and in the spirit of The Hangover, what sets Girls Trip apart is that this time it is women going on a crazy, adventurous trip. Looking to bring together her best friends from college, who used to call themselves the “Flossy Posse” and have taken different paths over the years, Ryan Pierce (portrayed by Hall) invites everyone to the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans. Unsurprisingly, the girls’ holiday takes a wrong turn and a series of unexpected events are triggered. Hilarious at times, and even offensive at others, Girls Trip is equally daring and empowering with feminine characters that are struggling to make a room for themselves in society and who, at the end of the day, understand that with a little self-esteem and the support of those who love them, they can achieve pretty much anything they want.
Using two very different languages but the same code, humor, both Landline and Girls Trip are well-crafted comedies that stick with viewers. An element they share is that the main characters in both films are women, and in an era in which achieving gender equality is at the top of the priorities, it feels right to have witty, funny, strong, smart and daring female characters in movies. As a matter of fact, Girls Trip actually proved Hollywood wrong, considering that being filmed on a tight budget and starring African American women, it made it to the top of the box office; so yeah, it looks like things are finally changing.