Support the Girls
(Andrew Bujalski)

The cast from Andrew Bujalski's  Support the Girls  {Photo: MAGNOLIA PICTURES}

The cast from Andrew Bujalski's Support the Girls {Photo: MAGNOLIA PICTURES}

There’s a subphylum of men who go to places like Hooters or the Tilted Kilt with the singular intention of ogling staff. To suggest white trash would seem too specific, so we’ll lose the initial modifier and simply refer to them as “trash”. It’s cleaner that way. Andrew Bujalski’s Support the Girls observes the staff of an independent “brestaurant,” the eyeroll-inducing Double Whammies. The Houston venue, located within the city’s web of concrete highways, is the sort of place that’s both everywhere and nowhere; an innocuous pit-stop establishment that makes no great claim to the moving world. And from outside the confines of this rundown restaurant we see Lisa (Regina Hall) crying in her car. This day’s going to be a pitiless bitch. We know it and so does Lisa, as she pulls herself together and begins her shift as the manager of Double Whammies.

Episodic and mostly gleaned from Lisa’s perspective, Support the Girls may initially seem too much like a situational comedy. After all, within the first ten minutes we’re introduced to a slew of prospective new hires, uncover that an attempted break-in occurred overnight, and that Lisa and her friend/coworker Danyelle (a terrific Shayna McHayle in her debut performance) are attempting to set up an impromptu car wash to raise money for another waitress. But if the film seems a bit hurried, it eventually settles into a more leisure, Bujalski-an pace, where the various narrative elements ebb and flow as Lisa attempts to grab a handle on the day. And it’s the small nuances, such as moments when Lisa is on hold with the cable company or the numerous, concerning gestures required of the women of Double Whammies that provide this film with a kind of poetry. The constitution of the women of Support the Girls is made of iron, and on the day that they’re observed in Bujalski’s film, we survey their ability to navigate grief, loss, and abuse. Together they find solace, and to see that captured on a rooftop observing that same concrete cobweb that opens the film, warmed my heart.  

Highly Recommended