SUPPORT THE GIRLS

Us flies chose well to spend a day on the wall with this crew.

Following a group of friends, co-workers and new recruits thrown into the deep-end of a highway-side “sports bar with curves,” an immediately resonant camaraderie is only a match for the escalating theatrics that inevitably ensue.

Lisa (Scary Movie’s Regina Hall) manages the community-friendly venue, backed up by her now newcomers and stalwarts. Among them persists the effervescent Maci as one of the more established cohort, played by Split’s excellent Haley Lu Richardson in a role roundly different to her earlier breakout successes.

Chronicling a day in Lisa’s life and that of her colleagues, things start off altogether sideways with a break-in perpetrated by a figure never quite able to disentangle themselves from their surrounds, and everything ramps up from there.

The alternately ebullient and trodden troupe are an utterly involving bunch, ranging from the nonplussed to the cynical to those outwardly and in every way trying to make each other’s lives better. Several enjoyable sequences buoyed by the two leads, including an early training episode and varied encounters with customers, culminate throughout in an elatedly enjoyable picture.

While not unrealistic at many instances in its depiction of the employees’ environment, Support the Girls, mirroring the attitudes evinced by some of the team in even the most despairing moments, shies away from being resoundingly dispirited, instead transfixing itself on an assuredly upbeat bent which is the endearing heart and soul of this film.

Navigating it’s first act in a near-documentary style absent a soundtrack and replete with the type of camera-work endemic to chronicling a series of live and ever-evolving subjects, Support the Girls does however err when it departs from the techniques so well established to follow individuals’ travails outside ‘Double Whammies.’ Being treated to a spell of the group’s lives early on and too at later stages, when the focus narrows matters take on a more routine disposition, situating us more broadly within a traditionally dramatic film. These moments are never as involving as when we return or otherwise find ourselves sitting in on the girls’ daily goings-on as if we’d just been fortunate enough to happen on the site one day.

Worth catching and a worthy addition to the Sydney Film Festival’s earliest screenings, it’s no surprise that Support the Girls was one of the first out of the gate.

Support the Girls screened as part of this year’s Sydney Film Festival