Lisa (Regina Hall) is the manager of a Hooters-like sports bar/restaurant in Texas. When we first see her, she is crying behind the wheel in her car before she gets out to begin her workday. She's interviewing young women for cleavage-showing waitress jobs in the restaurant which is called Double Whammies. If some of those candidates had to work for you, you'd be crying in your car too. Bless their hearts. Double Whammies does not have the style and success of a Hooters. In fact, when a couple of waitresses jump onto the bar and jiggle for the men, the men yell at them to get out of the way because they're blocking the TV screens.
The women highlighted in SUPPORT THE GIRLS are the kind of folks who would be bit characters in other movies. Regina Hall has a role that, back in the 80s, easily would have gone to a Holly Hunter or Teri Garr. Now -- about the FUNNY FACE angle. Did you see that musical? Remember how Audrey Hepburn's New York City bookworm character wants to continue studies in the philosophy of empathy but fashion magazine photographer Fred Astaire dances her off to Paris to join the world of high fashion modelling? She stresses the importance of empathy. She hopes to study the philosophy of empathy with a Professor Flostre while in Paris.
Lisa is empathy in action. We see this in one day of her life -- and it's not exactly one of the best days of her life. Nevertheless, even though she wants to cry or scream or shout "Girl, have you lost your complete mind?!?!," she never ever loses her sense of empathy when dealing with co-workers. She treats Double Whammies and its staff as if it's one of the best restaurants at Disneyworld.
Lisa may not realize it, but she is very dear to her female staff. The compassion of this ordinary woman has had an effect on lives in an area where a gourmet meal would be a large pizza with pineapple chunks on it. Lisa makes her daily check for mice in the kitchen. Notice how she deals with the Mexican cook who's in a situation that would've gotten him immediately fired in a place like Chili's or Applebee's or Hooters. But Lisa has taken time to understand his life outside of work and why he has that job. There's a lot of heart in that scene. I loved Regina Hall in this film.
Tall, slim Danyelle, played by Shayna McHayle, is fabulous with her constant Virginia O'Brien-ish deadpan. Danyelle is a black single working mother. She greatly appreciates the fact that she can bring her little boy into the restaurant for a while during the day and Lisa will make sure he's okay. We see that the polite little schoolboy probably has an I.Q. higher than some of his mom's fellow waitresses.
Lisa is tough when she needs to be yet that toughness is always rooted in a compassion. She's one of those women who should be booted up a corporate ladder but has probably gotten used to seeing less talented people get promoted or get better jobs. She deals with the kind of people who have been overlooked in life. She takes time to look at them. She treats them all with respect. She demands that everyone in her work environment also treat them with respect. Here's a trailer.
By the end of this 90-minute movie, we see that the empathy of Lisa has had a sweet influence on the lives of women who work with her. They do appreciate that she...supports the girls. Regina Hall, with her accurate accent, her carriage, her quiet compassion and empathy that would make Jesus Himself shout "You go, girl" and her civility in the face of personal disappointment, creates a character that shows her acting versatility. Regina Hall is terrific in SUPPORT THE GIRLS. Her previous credits include the 1999 film, THE BEST MAN with Taye Diggs and Terrence Howard, the SCARY MOVIE comedy franchise and the TV series ALLY McBEAL. I hope her Best Actress honor from the New York Film Critic Circle leads to other good movie script opportunities.
The first black women to be named Best Actress by the NYFCC in its 83 years. Wow. Viva, Regina!