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Support the Girls

A film by Andrew Bujalski

Among the BAMcinemaFest's best offerings is Andrew Bujalski’s brash yet analytical comedy “Support the Girls.” Bujalski—one of the key instigators of modern cinema since his first feature, “Funny Ha Ha,” from 2005—has always filmed with a conspicuous awareness that an independent film production is also a small business. He films people on the job, thinking about money, aspiring to something like art, seeking something like independence. He has a place alongside Frederick Wiseman and Vincente Minnelli as a cinematic scrutinizer of institutions—in his case, small-scale and local institutions, as in “Support the Girls,” where the institution in question is a Texas sports bar called Double Whammies.

There, all the members of the waitstaff (they’re all young women) wear shorts and crop tops; the manager, Lisa (Regina Hall), defines their mission as “boobs, brews, and big screens,” but she also keeps it, as she says, a family place—and her conception of her job is altogether familial. She approaches her work and her colleagues with an empathetic, personal devotion that sparks the drama of the film. A server has run over her deadbeat boyfriend with a car; Lisa holds an informal car-wash fund-raiser for her legal defense, unbeknownst to the bar’s owner, Ben Cubby (James Le Gros)—and it’s not the only work issue that she’s keeping from him.

The tone of the film is buoyantly, boisterously comedic, thanks especially to two staffers (played by Haley Lu Richardson and Shayna McHayle), but the sharp-elbowed humor is laced with aching tenderness, tightrope-tense frustrations over money and love, and an underlying mix of social pathologies that bubbles through the show-biz surfaces—and that Bujalski raises to an antic pitch of sublime rage.

Source: Richard Brody, The New Yorker


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Directed by: 
Andrew Bujalski
Running Time: 
90 minutes
Regina Hall, Haley Lu Richardson, Dyland Gelula, James Le Gros
Screenplay by: 
Andrew Bujalski

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