Andrew Bujalski (director)
28 June 2019 (released)
26 June 2019
Support the Girls is being sold as a comedy which is a little constricting as while there are a few laughs its more nuanced than that and balanced with some deft drama as we are drawn into Lisa’s (Regina Hall) day as a general manager of a highway-side sports bar that is nominally a family establishment though flirts with strip joint conventions. The women employees are required to don skimpy garments, though well aware that there is a legal threshold.
It’s a day in the life and as such there’s a lot going on here. Which is expertly handled by writer and director Andrew Bujalski. The days kicks off with an idiot in the ceiling space, a sacking and interviewing newbies who are taken through their paces, and then impromptu pulled into a car-wash scam.
It’s around this point that the other main players are introduced – characters may be pushing it as there’s not a lot of real development. Nevertheless Maci (Haley Lu Richardson) sharp, experienced and fun; Danyelle (Shayna McHayle) nominally Lisa’s deputy is business like with a no-nonsense style, have enough personality to lift them above stock.
And it’s from this trio that we are acquainted with the other side of the bar. There’s the tough trucker Bobo (Lea DeLaria), a randy geriatric, and a couple of workers from the stores in the area who have crushes on the women. So with a few disparate element’s things start to develop and the essence of a plot is established.
As the day trundles on and the viewer picks up that there’s a big fight on in the evening and bar owner Cubby (James Le Gros) is looking to have all the TVs ready and the ‘girls’ primed for a profitable night. He’s also a thoroughly unpleasant individual with whom Lisa has to work (cope?) with despite having grave reservations about him personally.
The direction is arm’s length giving a semi-documentary feel to it though the contrivances seal it as a film. However Bujalski establishes a solid rapport between the women in the bar, their loyalty, wit and strength in adversity, traits that are well drawn in very good naturalistic performances.
Pressure upon pressure piles on Lisa testing her professionally and personally to the limit. To the point that she has to reconsider where she is in her life and where she’s going.
Probably the best way to appreciate this film is to just to sit back and roll with it, as apart from a few individuals there are precious few hooks plot wise. There are subtleties at play here too that could be extrapolated. Equally it could just be taken as a simple day in the life of hard working and hard living people.