Support the Girls is a day-in-the-life film about Lisa (Regina Hall) and the women she works with in a sports bar called Double Whammies. Lisa begins the day crying and ends it screaming.
Everything in between the crying and the screaming is a portrait of all the crap women who live on minuscule wages and tips do to survive each day. These are the women who have no resources, no insurance, no fancy day care, no money for a new battery in their beater. Yet they keep the rest of the economy afloat with their labor and love.
The title Support the Girls has the obvious push-up bra sports bar kind of double entendre, but it’s also about how Lisa, the Manager, supports her staff. She feels for the girls in the skimpy outfits. She demands respect for them from the customers. She takes care of the cooks with compassion. She’s the reason the whole place functions. She manages all that even though her personal life is going down the tubes.
The place caters to men, naturally. Most of them regard the waitstaff as objects to ogle. Except for Bobo (Lea DeLaria). She likes being around the women, too, but she knows them as individuals and defends them against the more sexist customers.
The boss Cubby (James Le Gros) causes more harm than good. He often doesn’t show up. But he shows up on this day because a thief is trapped in the air ducts, the girls are running an illegal car wash to raise money for one of their own, and the cable has gone out on the day of a big televised fight.
The film belongs to Regina Hall, who is wonderful. She’s in every scene. The two most significant co-workers around her are Danyelle and Maci. These three are a team. When one of them gets hurt, they all get hurt.
A rule of the bar is “No Drama.” Danyelle defines drama as first you cry, then you laugh, then you scream. As the threesome discover on a rooftop after applying for new jobs, that primal scream feels damn good.
If you do not know what women who do this kind of work have to manage every day, this film is going to be an education. If you do know, you’re going to recognize people you love on the screen.
I should mention Brooklyn Decker, AJ Michalka, Lawrence Varnado, Steve Zapata, and Dylan Gelula, who had roles in Support the Girls. Andrew Bujalski both wrote and directed the film. It’s streaming on Hulu.
Tip your waitstaff, people!