Workplace drama exceeds its seedy setting with strong cast.

The 2018 edition of the SXSW Conference and Festivals is here, and the Cinapse team is on the ground, covering all things film.

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It started with Hooters, and continues on with Twin Peaks, Bikinis, and more. Yes, the “breastaurant,” that artifact of modern life, litters our highways and now provides the backdrop for Andrew Bujalski’s newest film, Support the Girls.

The story centers around Lisa, the manager with a heart of gold, holding together this wild, scantily-clad family as they make their way through one particularly challenging day. Regina Hall plays Lisa perfectly, with just the right about of grit, compassion, and humor.

The girls are what make things move. In Maci, Haley Lu Richardson has never been cuter or more bubbly. It’s almost like she sought out a role 180 degrees from her part in Columbus. The breakout star here is Shayna McHayle, a rapper turned actor who slays as the composed and perpetually annoyed Danyelle. Her first screen role is a winner.

The restaurant itself, Double Whammies, does a lot of work in the story. Regular customers make themselves at home, and the banal daily doings set the tone for a workplace drama that’s actually about work.

Bujalski’s previous film, Results, centered about personal trainers, so for research he went to the gym a lot and even lost some weight. For this film, the Austin-based director went to several of these restaurants and ate fried mozzarella sticks and seasoned fries. The results were not the same.

This is a very choreographed movie. The small central cast and fixed location means everything has to be happen on the beat and with the right rhythm to establish a flow. From moment one, that is the case.

For Austinites, the signal moment might be near the end of the film when Richardson primal screams at the Arboretum from a nearby rooftop. For a story about the vagaries of modern capitalism, this felt especially fitting.

Support the Girls has already been picked up by Magnolia pictures, so expect to see distribution relatively soon. With his latest film, Bujalski has created another well-crafted yet emotionally engaging work that will appeal to the employer and employee in all of us.

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