The always excellent Regina Hall stars as den mother to a group of waitresses in this low-key, slice-of-life comedy.
Hall plays Lucy, the manager of Double Whammies, a Hooters-esque sports bar in Houston, Texas. It may not be the most fun place to work, but Lucy looks out for her staff. Across one eventful day, she will have to face and resolve one crisis after another; some professional, some personal.
On paper, the set-up of the film suggests the pseudo-empowerment of Coyote Ugly (2005), or maybe a straight-up comedy a la Waiting (2005), but Support The Girls is a much more grounded movie than either precedent.
This is a day in the life of people who work for a living, and that comes with both the required optimism and the inevitable struggle. Humour is derived from the setting but the film is more interested in how grim such a place can be at times.
A focus on character keeps the light narrative afloat, with Hall once again showing how effortlessly she can bring depth to anything she graces with her presence. She is assisted by winning supporting turns from rising star Haley Lu Richardson (Five Feet Apart), Dylan Gelula (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) and Shayna McHale (aka rapper Junglepussy), who is particularly fantastic in what appears to be her first big film role.
Writer/director Andrew Bujalski broke out with the peculiar and wonderful 2013 mockumentary Computer Chess. This one is a world away from that super-stylised film being a much more naturalistic effort. But it proves no less interested in finding the sublime in the mundane.
Regina Hall, Haley Lu Richardson, James Le Gros
M (Offensive language, sexual references and nudity)
A gentle, character-centric dramedy with more indie flavour than its setting might suggest.