Andrew Bujalski makes another slice of life dramadey with Support the Girls, anchoring his examination of the bullshit women have to put up with around a solid lead performance by Regina Hall.
Lisa manages a Hooters knock off, Double Whammies, but she is trying to make the most of the situation by empowering her scantily clad team of ladies with empowerment, community and a through gritted teeth reminder that this is a “family restaurant.” On this particular day, everything in Lisa’s life seems to be coming to a head. When she arrives at work, someone has gotten stuck in the air ducts trying to break in to the safe. One of her girls got in a bit of trouble with an ex and needs money. One of her girls doesn’t have child care. The cable gets cut out with “the big fight” on later that day. And as more and more layers are pulled back we learn that Lisa’s home life is maybe not that great either.
Hall plays Lisa and she does a great job as someone always walking on the edge of their breaking point. When she needs a moment she will step out back and zen out/blow off the steam, but she always has a smile with her girls and is always spinning positives through the worst of it. Hall also is great at not playing the optimism with aloofness, she’s aware of the shit hands dealt to her, but she can’t be a good leader if she gives into the defeat surrounding her. The film has a running through line of drama centered around what is happening at Lisa’s place of work, and it is a perfect foil to bounce her off of as she goes from one girl to another, trying to help them. This is where Hall is the best, one on one with the people in her world, and Bujalski does a great job of giving her ample opportunities to interact with a variety of personalities. We believe Lisa’s ability as a human because Hall gives her approach that extra little something different with each person she interacts work, give her depth by showing how she takes her approach from one area of her life and applies it to another. A great lead turn by Regina Hall.
Her supporting cast is just as solid, with each girl taking on the persona, intentionally, of what a woman has to take on to adhere to the white male supremacy that surrounds them. Bujalski doesn’t pander with these roles, or damn them, he supports the girls and the choices they have made to get by. Shayna McHayle plays a mother who is trying to make sure her kid gets proper care and is on the rise with opportunity at Double Whammies. McHayle is a newcomer to the screen but works wonderfully with and against Hall. Against might be a bit too harsh award, they are always on each others side, there is a truth between them, and we believe their bond from the get go. Haley Lu Richardson is a ball of endless energy and positivity and we believe that she genuinely loves her job and takes pride in being great at it. She’s completely aware of what she is selling, what’s expected of her, and her ability to be in complete control of that situation makes her as strong as anyone out there. Dylan Gelula is the closest thing to a walking punchline in the film, but she is great playing a seemingly oblivious sex pot, that slowly boils over to the logical conclusion for her. That said, Bujalski brilliantly skewers the men that interact with her, getting a great laugh every time one of them says she has great ideas because she delivers them with hyper sexualized manipulation. AJ Michalka shows up later in the film and does well in her part as well, delivering one of the best laughs in the film as she tries to defend her tattoo that will force her to quit Double Whammies.
Support The Girls is a solid look at female life in a blue-collar workplace, all rolled into one crazy day for a group of women and out lead Regina Hall. Hall is the anchor of this film and Bujalski does a great job of surrounding her with great actors and characters to push her in every direction. A fine little slice of life piece that will entertain from start to finish.