"a workplace comedy, set, for the most part, over the course of a day but then it turns into a rather touching, surprisingly informative illustration of what women face in a male dominant world"
Support The Girls is a discreetly feminist comedy. the film is lead by Regina Hall, best known for her multiple leading roles, including Girls Trip (2017) and Shaft (2019). She also has appeared in numerous television series, and played a prominent recurring character in the comedy series Ally McBeal (2001-2002). She became known for playing Brenda in the Scary Movie films, as well as The Hate U Give (2018). She was the first African American to win the New York Critics Circle Award for Best Actress, playing Lisa Conroy in the critically acclaimed comedy Support the Girls (2018). An astute film about what women often face, on a day to day basis, at work and in the home.
The main action of the story takes place in a less crude Hooters-style bar called Double Whammies, for those of you who don't know, the Hooters name is a double entendré since not only does it refer to its owl logo, a feathered creature known for its "hooting" calls but also as an American slang term to mean a woman's breasts, made popular by the comic Steve Martin.
Each day the attractive waitresses at Double Whammies serve up beer and wings to a predominately male client base, which could make you believe that the film you're about to see will be misogynistic, however, that is not the case at all.
Admittedly it does start out as a workplace comedy, set, for the most part, over the course of a day but then it turns into a rather touching, surprisingly informative illustration of what women face in a male dominant world.
The concept of 'Hollywood style empowerment' is cast to one side for most women, when, put simply, it's about making ends meet - holding down a job, whilst maintaining an air of serenity around the home and workplace.
A true-to-life Drama which leaves thoughtful beats throughout, in order that the audience draws their own conclusions as to what's going on.
Humorous and sharp but never wishing to brandish us with an opinion, just an apology towards its characters perhaps, for all they must have to endure.
'Support the Girls' is an emotionally mature film by Andrew Bujalski, whose films appear to have headed in a more accessible direction but still manage to maintain a sensitivity towards character and dialogue.
Bujalski is credited as being ‘the inventor of mumble-core,’ a movement in Independent cinema in the early 2000s, when there was a switch toward an indistinct structure on a low budget, yet with a muted realism.
Admittedly the plot in Support the Girls could be further developed, having said a lot does actually happen. The film focuses on Lisa (Regina Hall, in what is without a doubt is a standout performance). Hall plays the longstanding manager of Double Whammies, who extends herself far beyond her job spec.
Lisa is the chief support at Double Whammies, and for the vast majority of the girls who work there, a mother figure. She is their sounding board, making sure they don't stray, as she at times might forcibly have to get rid of men who show no respect. Her own boss (James Le Gros) clearly doesn't commend her hardly enough for all the work that she does.
Lisa’s day does not simply comprise of ensuring the customers' happiness is fulfilled, she must also contact the cable company about mending the television in the run-up to the big match, she trains up new waitresses, at the same time she warns Maci (Haley Lu Richardson) away from troublesome customers.
The play-out of Lisa's day is representative of a thousand accumulations of mosquito bites, some more lethal than others - bartering over schedules, as well as looking after Danyelle's (Shayna McHayle) son, whose child care doesn't hold out. She visits an apartment on behalf of her acutely depressed husband (Lawrence Varnado), from whom she is in the process of separating.
And as the day edges ever nearer to the big fight — the girls of Double Whammies manoeuvre their way through their varied problems but eventually meeting a breaking point.
Hall’s performance alongside those of secondary characters Richardson and McHayle bring a realness to the film, leaving you to believe you're watching a documentary, at the same time it points out serious issues subtly, i.e. casual sexual harassment towards young women working for tips, and racial discrimination. As well as marking what the reality is of a single working mother, who has but an inadequate health insurance.
In conclusion there’s a kind of irony when you consider this 'haven for sisters' and its backdrop. Arguably it is a place where women are exploited, dressed in scantily clad outfits. Yet life appears to be made up of all sorts of ‘bittersweet contradictions.'.
Rather than the film represent “girl power," the women in it support one another. This does not stem from 'performative feminism' but love. If they cannot obtain the respect they rightly should around them, they at least can withhold it in the work family that's been established.