Support the Girls review – bar boss calls time on her dodgy clientele | Film

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Regina Hall rules the screen in writer-director Andrew Bujalski’s likable, offbeat contemporary reworking of the 9 to 5 template. She plays Lisa, the manager of a neighbourhood bar in Texas where the waitresses are forced to wear skimpy outfits and flirt with the dodgy, good ol’ boy clientele. This has the toe-curling name of Double Whammies but insists on seeing itself as a family place with a safely naughty vibe.

Lisa is a tough professional who keeps the show on the road while maintaining a protective love and concern for the vulnerable semi-clad women under her wing, including Maci (Haley Lu Richardson) and Jennelle (Dylan Gelula) – both excellent – though she has serious problems in her own home life: a failed relationship with a depressive guy called Cameron (Lawrence Varnardo) who has yet to move out. Her problems mount when she generously stages a semi-legal carwash “fundraiser” outside the bar to help a waitress who’s suffered abuse. It forces her to confront the grisliness of the business she’s in.

Support the Girls barrels along with wit, flair and gusto from the actors. Richardson in particular is completely unrecognisable from her very serious, ruminative turn as the architecture student Casey in Kogonada’s complex drama Columbus from 2017.

The sinew and steel of Hall’s own performance comes out as she has to deal with the bar’s cynical owner Cubby (James Le Gros), and his contribution underscores Bujalski’s skill in creating flawed male characters whose weaknesses are exposed by the women who have to deal with them.

Support the Girls is a shrewdly observed, day-in-the-life-style portrait of a woman under pressure. It’s way too early to be thinking about awards season, but Regina Hall could be in line for some silverware.

Source: The Guardian
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