A quietly uplifting film about friendships, found families and the not-entirely-great jobs that many of us put up with in order to get by, Support the Girls is a big-hearted comedy with a understating and loving performance by Regina Hall.
General manager of the “breastaurant” Double Whammies Lisa (Regina Hall) has enough to deal with before she even steps into work, taking the time to cry quietly in her car in the car park, the only way she allows herself to think about her marriage without being openly confronted by it.
Support the Girls, written and directed by Andrew Bujalski, is set over the course of one day in the life of Double Whammies, a restaurant for which “no drama” is one of the key tenents, and a rule that is swiftly disregarded by every single member of it’s staff. Lisa speeds from one issue to the next: sorting out childcare for her employee Danyelle (Shayna McHayle), starting an impromptu car wash fundraiser for another member of staff who needs funds for a lawyer after hitting her ex-boyfriend with a car, or trying to deal with the burglar stuck in the vents of the building.
Hall perfectly counters what could be in other hands a “busybody” role into something much warmer and deeper, showing a realy warmth and supportiveness to each and everyone of her staff who she consistantly refers to as staff. It never comes across as a patronising attempt to maintain a sense of community in the workplace, it is from a geniune place of love. Hall’s expressive eyes flit from one crisis to the next, as the struggles of Lisa’s life dwelling just beneath the surface as she attempts to drown her problems by burying herself in everyone elses.
Lisa’s calm and reflective personality is juxtaposed with the large, drama-filled attitudes of the young girls she employs. Whether it’s Danyelle – a dryly funny performance from McHayle – and her sarcastic remarks and sly undermining of their asshole boss Cuddy (James LeGros), or Maci (Haley Lu Richardson ), the upbeat and bubbly second in command who seems to have more energy than she knows what to do wth, the supporting cast are a true force of young talent to be reckoned with.
For a film that is nominally a comedy, and a funny one at that, Support the Girls‘ exploration of female solidarity in a job that solely views them as commodities is an interesting theme to take to task in ninety-one minutes. Lisa’s firm and steady presence in Double Whammies allows the rest of the staff to do their job without fear that any potential harassment will be dealt with swiftly without any hesitation. When Lisa’s power is taken away by Cubby, Danyelle, Maci and the other girls stage a bar-top protest that is as madly chaotic as it is powerful, as they take over the restaurant and sabotage any hopes that the place has a chance of survival without her presence.
Support the Girls can remind you of every crap job you’ve worked, where the only thing redeemable can be the people you work alongside, and whom with relationships are built with a strength and speed that can seem alien to those on the outside. By the end you’ll want to scream on the rooftop with them.