Writer-director Andrew Bujalski Support The Girls is a slice of life drama. The film’s endearing protagonist wins out, despite a few shortcomings.
Lisa is the manager of a Hooters-style sports bar. Over the course of the day, she is tested to her limits by her staff, her customers, and the owner…
The action in Support The Girls takes place predominantly over the course of a single day. It is immediately obvious this isn’t an ordinary day, with a first shot of Lisa wiping away her tears. Filmmaker Andrew Bujalski throws up a litany of issues that the protagonist has to deal with. Some of these are light, while others have more weight.
There is not one dominant narrative strand in Support The Girls. Instead, film weaves in different characters and different incidents continually as it progresses. At first it seems as if there will be a main strand focusing on the potential new recruits, yet the film shifts focus frequently.
The thing that stands out about Support The Girls is its realism. There is a strong sense of verisimilitude throughout the film. it is almost like watching a fly-on-the-wall documentary. None of the incidents that take place are beyond the realms of possibility. The film is stronger for keeping this sense of proportion. A Hooters-style bar may seem like an odd setting, yet it is as real as any other. Neither gritty nor glamorous, the cast of characters are most believable.
The only drawback of the film is that there is not a strong enough climax. Support The Girls does not build too much, yet keeps viewers engaged thanks to a likeable protagonist. Lisa is generous and caring, but not beyond fault. Viewers will likely root for her to get through the various incidents. With the lack of a strong finale, the conclusion feels a bit flat. It could have ended nicely in the penultimate scene. It is almost as if the filmmaker was not sure how exactly to end it. These, however, are small qualms.
Regina Hall delivers a strong performance. She comes across as most authentic. She is ably supported by Haley Lu Richardson and Shayna McHayle. The camera work feeds into fly on the wall theme. The film intersperses close ups with less intense shots, sometimes positioning the viewer as a bar patron. The effect of this works well.
Support The Girls is most watchable and is a good showcase for its cast. Bujalski delivers a film that feels authentic.