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AJ Michalka, Regina Hall and Shayna McHayle in Support the Girls.

Courtesy of Mongrel Media

  • Support the Girls
  • Written and directed by: Andrew Bujalski
  • Starring: Regina Hall and James Le Gros
  • Classification: 14A; 90 minutes

rating

Stealth feminism in a sexist sports bar. It’s a typical day at work for Lisa (Regina Hall), the manager of Double Whammies, a Hooters wanna-be. One waitress brings a sick kid to work; another is training new recruits (“See how I open my mouth real wide when I laugh?” she instructs); the cable TV goes dark; and the owner (James Le Gros) stops by to make things worse.

But Lisa is that blessed rarity, a good boss, and the writer-director Andrew Bujalski shows us how important that is. Midway through this sly comedy, he does a pan around the bar that struck me: We see how these women, like many women, spend their days pasting on a smile to manage the demands – and deflect the quick-erupting anger – of men who are not in any way their superiors, except by virtue of patriarchy.

Bujalski (a member of the indie cabal known as mumblecore) sticks to the truth of Lisa’s life – there’s no air-punching triumph at the end. Nevertheless, she persists, and that feels like victory enough.