Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 2018. Burn Later Productions, Houston King Productions. Screenplay by Andrew Bujalski. Cinematography by Matthias Grunsky. Produced by Houston King, Sam Slater. Production Design by Jake Kuykendall. Costume Design by Colin Wilkes. Film Editing by Karen Skloss. Independent Spirit Awards 2018. New York Film Critics 2018.
Regina Hall plays the manager of a Hooters-esque restaurant who takes her job seriously, and on this particular morning the restaurant hasn’t even opened but she has to deal with an attempted robbery by a man now trapped in the ceiling, then discovers that the cable is shorting out and they need the screens to work for the big boxing match that will draw customers that night. Meanwhile, the girls who work so happily under Hall have personal dramas that she handles like a real den mother: one young woman needs money to get away from an abusive boyfriend, so Hall sets up an impromptu car wash outside the restaurant, while another has a young son who needs to hang out at their workplace until a sitter can be arranged. Andrew Bujalski’s idiosyncratic comedy isn’t one awash in laughs, it’s a pleasant and intelligent affair that keeps the pranks to a minimum, a magnificent feat for a film set in a place where girls are constantly defending their big-breasted dignity for minimum wage. The whole ensemble performs beautifully, but the experience is held together by Hall’s smooth and confident work, she barely raises an eyebrow in her subtle performance but is always firmly in control of the film’s narrative drive.