This much can’t be denied about Andrew Bujalski: One could not have predicted his retro-futuristic 2013 Computer Chess would have led to his rom-commy 2015 Results — and while his new Support the Girls isn’t quite as much of a leap, it’s still the mark of a director willing to explore. Lisa (Regina Hall) is the manager of the Houston location of Double Whammies, a Hooters-style restaurant that’s steadily losing business to a bigger and somehow even more pandering chain called Mancave.
Over the course of one spectacularly trying day, she’s confronted with an attempted burglary, new hires, the company’s systemic racism, and her own crumbling personal life. Support the Girls is ultimately boosted by Hall’s performance as a rational woman in an irrational situation, one in which she must balance her loyalty to her work family with the impossible rules of her environment. Finding a balance between opposing forces is a running theme in Bujalski’s work, and he also manages to have most of his cast in revealing clothes without objectifying them, itself a near-impossible balancing act last pulled off by Harmony Korine in Spring Breakers. And while the film is a delight throughout, there may not be a better, more cathartic denouement in 2018 than the final 45 seconds of Support the Girls.
Opens Friday at the Opera Plaza Cinema.