Fluent in the particularities of the milieu it inhabits, Bujalski has fashioned a humanist ode to worker solidarity, an illustration of inequality with considered political inclinations that is nevertheless refreshingly light on its feet.
At a detailed but breakneck 90 minutes, throwaway lines must incisively message subtext; hardly an expression, an exhalation, or a tonality is wasted. But when the film pauses, the performers deepen the silence.
Andrew Bujalski's latest, an understated comedy set in a 'Hooters'-style sports bar and restaurant, is held together by Regina Hall's incredible performance as Double Whammes' long-suffering general manager. Beginning from the moment we see Hall drying her eyes in her car before her shift, Bujalski offers a sincere portrait of working class solidarity—a reminder of our base humanity as we go about the 9 to 5.
Andrew Bujalski succeeds marvelously by way of SUPPORT THE GIRLS w/ a mode he failed to pull off in RESULTS: do the predictable indie thing, the marketable thing, and do it all wrong. Wrong? That's right. And it's righteous, low-key righteous. Bujalski uses a saleable premise to deliver fresh, casual, auteurist art, cock-eyed and committed. This wunderkind has had a magic touch with actresses from the beginning.
There's quite a bit more going on underneath the surface of this generically set up 'comedy' but the films own limitations stop it from really connecting. One can't fault Regina Hall who is dynamite in the lead here as are many of the supporting players. The uneven tone in scripting and direction unravel its ambitions and conceits but there are certainly some wonderful moments to be had...especially the finale.
If Support the Girls is a movie to take seriously—about performative/commodified sexuality, working class options, women's relations to men and each other—it's because and not in spite of being a comedy. There is real warmth here, aiming for the kind of regional specificity indie cinema was always best at. I'm not sure slick visual polish and a recognizable lead help or hurt Bujalski. But Regina Hall does crush it.
So full of life, exuberance, and commentary I wish Andrew Bujalski had optioned to make this a ten-episode HBO series. "Support the Girls" is one of the most honest American films of the year, humanizing an often scandalized locale where masculinity, exploitation, drama, and cattiness all come together and have a beer with hot wings while pretending to care about the big game. Also: Regina Hall deserves all the smoke
With utter sincerity I believe STG might be the best piece of political film-making this year. There is the indie comedy 'just another day' version which ends with everyone sharing a drink at the bar - this ain't that. It's about how a capitalist system basically relies on a few good eggs to preserve dignity. Spoiler, they aren't rewarded. I only realised afterwards how radical the biker scene alone is.