Girls Trip (Lee, 2017)

All hail Tiffany Haddish. Her NYFCC win was the sole reason I decided to watch Girls Trip sooner rather than later, and, well, the proof is in the pudding. It’s one of the most uninhibited, no-holds-barred performances of the year, and one that captures the joie de vivre of being a proud and confident black woman. She thumbs her nose at authority, she loves to party and get wasted, she knows a beautiful man when she sees one, and—most significantly—she’s loyal to her girlfriends, and will stick up for them no matter what. When her friend Ryan’s husband is found to be cheating on her with a notable Instagram model, Tiffany’s Dina is not only the first to tell her when the others balk, but she’s also the first to smash a wine bottle and hold it over his head. Many would consider it an embarrassing public outburst; in context, it’s a fierce gesture of love on behalf of a lifelong friend. And this isn’t the only time Dina gets to demonstrate such love. In almost every frame, Tiffany Haddish simply radiates it.

The film itself is a fine comedy. Not terribly big on plot or circumstance, nor is it especially well-shot. It’s one of those things that probably would have flown under the radar had it not been for Haddish. Hall, Latifah and Pinkett Smith are all expectedly good and have their individual moments to shine, but again, it’s Haddish who towers over the proceedings. It’s her scenes that garnered the biggest laughs from me. It’s her presence that fed me with delight over and over again. Is she on her way to the Dolby Theatre in March? Never say never, my friends. Melissa McCarthy did it a few years ago. If voters go to bat for her, she’ll have a fair shot. And considering how rarely comedic performances are recognised, it would be such a treat to see it happen again.

All hail Tiffany Haddish.