I like Hooters for the wings and that’s final!
Lisa (Regina Hall) is the manager of Double Whammies, a sports bar that specializes in fried-food and scantily-clad women. Usually, the clientele is centered more towards men who want a little bit of a good time, allowing the women who work there to get huge tips for days. But today is an awful day for Lisa for some reason; she just doesn’t feel as up to the job as usual and is thinking about quitting. The only reason she won’t is because she loves and supports the girls that work for her, and knew that without her, their jobs would absolutely be in jeopardy. But if she does decide to stay at this job, she may be ruining whatever chances she has at finally getting married and moving on with her life.
Support the Girls is a lot like writer/director Andrew Bujalski’s other flicks: They’re small, subtle, quiet, and filled with lots of moments that feel improvised. That’s how all of his earlier movies were and it’s why they’re so golden and lovely to watch now, “mumblecore” association aside and everything. And yes, Support the Girls deals very much in the same tone and style, but this time, there’s a bit more of a story, much better actors, and more importantly, a point to it all.
Does that make it better than his other movies? Not really, but it sure is a step in the right direction for someone who is continuing to grow and grow as a film-maker. Cause while Bujalski still loves focusing in on the awkwardness of his characters, he gets a bit deeper to the root of the problems like sexism, ageism, and race here, making it seem like Bujalski actually has something on his mind and doesn’t want to just watch as his characters fumble over each other’s sentences.
But once again, Bujalski fumbles over himself a bit because these elements of the story aren’t incredibly well-developed.
They’re smart and show a director with an idea in his head, but mostly, Support the Girls never gets the opportunity to really feel like it’s getting to its point, or even its story. Really, Support the Girls is a thinly-written story as is, which is fine, but it also feels like Bujalski doesn’t know whether to rely solely on the characters and their interactions, or the story to bring all sorts of wacky and crazy surprises.
With a cast like this, though, you can’t totally go wrong though and they’re why Support the Girls gets a much better rating. Regina Hall gives perhaps her best performance to-date as the loving, nurturing and kind-hearted Lisa, who pours her heart and soul out each and every day on this god-awful job. Hall finds the perfect blend of sweetness and humility, to where we always know there’s a darker side to her in there somewhere, we just have to get to the smile first to find it.
Hall’s lovely, as well as everyone else, because as we’ve seen with most of these mumblecore directors, is that the better actors they get involved, the better the movies.
Case in point. I guess.
Consensus: Though still thin on certain elements like plot and character, Support the Girls still works because of its charming ensemble and generally pleasant pace.
7 / 10
Photos Courtesy of: Magnolia Pictures