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May 19th, 2019

Now on Demand: Support the Girls

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I remember this lovely young woman I used to work with many years ago. Her name was Danielle.

One time we were talking about a movie preview we had both seen. She stated that the star was James Franco. I corrected her and said it was Hayden Christensen. She smiled at me and didn’t say a word.

Months later we were in New York City together, walking back to the hotel from a club. I admitted to her sheepishly that she was completely right about James Franco. I expressed my amazement that she was able to accept my arrogant, incorrect answer with such grace. She smiled at me and didn’t say a word.

That’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks: Danielle was vastly more mature and sophisticated than I was. To be liked, a smart, good-looking woman needs to tone down her intelligence sometimes to remain popular strategically.

I agree with my feminist readers that life shouldn’t be this way. But, it is. And I admire the heck out of women like Danielle. Andrew Bujalski—the writer and director of “Support the Girls”—clearly does, too.

The film takes us through one day in the life of Lisa (Regina Hall), the manager of a Hooters-esque sports bar called Double Whammies.

Her day is like a low-key version of The Odyssey. Lisa has to navigate a crazy boss, angry customers, a sullen husband, and a burglary attempt by one of her cooks.

All of the real characters in “Support the Girls” are women, and we root for all of them. The men aren’t so much bad guys as they are obstacles to overcome.

Andrew Bujalski has made a subtle Union movie. He views the solidarity of the workers as the only thing keeping the waitresses from physical exploitation and total powerlessness.

The best thing about “Support the Girls” is Haley Lu Richardson’s character Maci. Maci is young, bubbly, and speaks with a pronounced southern accent. In any normal movie, she’d be a ditz and the butt of jokes.

The surprise is that Maci is the smartest character. She’s the only one without financial problems, and she has landed the one kind, decent man we meet in the entire movie.

In the final scene, one of the other waitresses drunkenly gives her a backhanded compliment. “You wouldn’t understand, Maci,” she slurs. “you’re an angel sent from Heaven to show the rest of us what a good attitude looks like.” “And,” she adds snidely, “for lonely old men to **** *** to.”

For one beautifully acted moment, we see that Maci wants to defend herself and explain that she is more intelligent and sophisticated than anyone around her can comprehend. But, instead she displays her maturity and composes herself. She smiles and doesn’t say a word.

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