They were once a 5 member girl group in the 1990s but Girls5Eva are now all grown up, in their 40s with kids, mortgages, in daily grind jobs and unable to slip into their skin tight outfits.
There’s also only 4 surviving members: Dawn (Sara Bareilles), Summer (Busy Philipps), Gloria (Paula Pell) and Wickie (Renée Elise Goldsberry).
But when young rapper Li’l Stinker (Jeremiah Craft) samples their song for his latest hit, suddenly showbiz beckons once more.
Dawn even hears the song while getting a mammogram prompting her to visit former manager Larry (Jonathan Hadary) to investigate royalties. But the ageing manager, who insists he has now had “mandatory sensitivity training,” has misplaces cheques which are about to expire in 2 days. Dawn heads off on a mission to hand over $372 each to her former vocalists.
Summer, still heavily reliant on full make-up, is now mother to a petulant teen with a podcast but determined to realise a Girls5Eva reunion. Gloria, who has since come out but now works in dental surgery, has also put on weight, while Wickie is supposedly married to money and launching fashion lines in between a life of lear jets.
All four agree to a performance with Li’l Stinker on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon (Fallon even guest stars as himself) but can they pull it off when old rivalries and egos resurface?
The plot is relatively simple, and in truth could fit many B grade musical films. But what makes it work so well is the script by Meredith Scardino ad the chemistry between the four leads. While Sara Bareilles is the cluey, natural leader of the troupe and its emotional core, the other three ladies all find a voice of their own, pardon the pun. Busy Phillips is particularly strong as the resident ditzy blonde who failed to make the cast of Real Housewives 8 times.
There are video flashbacks to Larry King and Regis Philbin, while Andrew Rannells and Dean Winter also have recurring roles. The retro clips of the group at their peak don’t quite work (given the actor ages) but it’s a small quibble in an otherwise-feelgood show.
Producer Tina Fey has (presumably) injected plenty of gags and droll asides that the case deliver on point.
The sum total is pop nostalgia meets ageing girl power in a politically-sensitive era…. the end result is clever, sassy comedy.
Girls5Eva is now screening on Stan.