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Support the Girls

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Support the Girls Movie Poster Image
Workplace dramedy has strong females, cursing, drinking.
  • R
  • 2018
  • 90 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Illustrates that one person's commitment affects a multitude of others. Promotes: compassion, hard work, integrity, optimism, and the resilience of the working class.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Heroine is smart, resourceful, loyal, brave, compassionate, unselfish, and tenacious. Time and time again, she is faced with challenges that she handles with grace and empathy. Other female workers exhibit various degrees of courage and enthusiasm. Male characters, for the most part, are portrayed as limited individuals. Among them are sexists, racists, and philanderers. Ethnic diversity throughout.

Violence

A man takes a punch to the stomach. 

Sex

No sexual activity. Female wait staff wears revealing clothing -- short shorts, lots of cleavage, bare midriffs. In one close-up, a female nipple is exposed. Work place is a festival of men ogling women. A focus of the film is on "institutional sexism."

Language

Swearing and profanity throughout, including "d--k," "ass," "fag," "bitch," "blow me," "finger", "asshole," "whack off," "pr--k," and multiple instances of "f--k," "s--t."

Consumerism

Mostly set in a restaurant-bar establishment, products identified and sometimes featured include Shiner Bock, Pabst, Miller, Lone Star, Bud Light.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Mainly in a restaurant-bar, alcohol is consumed in many scenes. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Support the Girls is set almost entirely in Whammies, a Hooters-style sports bar in Texas. Billed as a comedy with "boobs, brews, and big screens," the fun is integrated with enough insightful commentary and dramatic incident to create a telling picture of folks, in this case women, struggling to get by in a working-class environment. The ethnically-diverse female cast deals with issues of sexism, racism, fat-shaming, and dwindling opportunities. While there is no on-screen sexual activity, the women live in an environment of institutionalized sexism. They wear "Double Whammies" outfits -- tight-fitting short shorts, a bare midriff, and low-cut tops. Men ogle, gawk, and pester. A brief glimpse of a bare nipple is seen. Language is coarse throughout, including "f--k," "s--t," "d--k," "pr--k," "bitch," "blow me," "nut-hugger," "ass." Whammies is a bar; beer (particularly huge mugs called the "Big Ass") flows.

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What's the story?

SUPPORT THE GIRLS features Lisa (Regina Hall) as the manager of a local sports bar/restaurant. Lisa is thought of by everyone who works at Whammies as the boss from heaven. Unfortunately, Lisa works for Cubby (James LeGros), the owner from hell. While Lisa is den-mother, trouble-shooter (and there's plenty of trouble), and point gal for all of the bar's festivities (including the kitchen, the front, and everywhere else!), Cubby is a lazy, sexist, racist jerk who doesn't allow "two black girls on the same shift." In one day, with a series of comic and sometimes dramatic incidents including a would-be robber caught in the ventilation system; a slew of new girls fitting into the tight, revealing "Double Whammies" uniforms; a menacing biker; and Lisa's efforts to raise money with a car wash for one of the staff (a victim of domestic abuse), this boss from heaven has about all she can handle. The fact that Lisa's own life is in crisis doesn't make things any easier. Lucky for her, it's friends and coworkers who help everything come together, at least most of the time. Danyelle (Shayna McHale), a struggling single mom, and Maci (Hayley Lu Richardson), the bubbly cheerleader for the whole team, are constant reminders of the hardworking, worthwhile wonders of the close family they’ve created.

Is it any good?

Part comic, part dramatic, and always with a focus on character rather than incident, the movie takes a distinctive look at "family" as it evolves in a spirited but culturally-compromised workplace. Writer-director Andrew Bujalski is skilled at creating real, complex human beings, and Support the Girls, with a terrific performance by Regina Hall in the lead, is a solid example. The supporting players, even those with few lines, are pitch perfect as well.

 It's not a movie for those looking for farce or slapstick humor. Despite the opportunity for that kind of comedy in an environment that would make it easy, Bujalski shoots higher. When one character refers to "the wind beneath our Buffalo wings," it's not hilarious, it's just wonderfully clever. Recommended for teens and up, especially for those who appreciate substance along with character-driven laughs.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the ways in which Support the Girls portrayed the staff of Whammies as a family. In film and particularly in television, workplace life often is a surrogate for family. Which are some of your favorites (i.e., The Office, Brooklyn Nine-Nine)?

  • What character strengths and skills does Lisa constantly exhibit that make her a special leader? Which of those strengths contributed to the resolution of her story?

  • Sexism is a key element in Support the Girls. What do you think the film's writer-director's attitude is about women being "objectified?" Give some examples of how he illustrates that attitude.

  • In what ways did this movie provide a sympathetic, nuanced look at some working-class Americans? How did the women of Whammies rely on one another for support?

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