Regina Hall’s career defies easy summation. The NYU journalism grad had an early stint on a soap opera, supporting roles in “The Best Man” and “Love and Basketball,” then mined for comedy in the Wayans brothers’ “Scary Movie.” That was the first year of her movie career. More “Scary Movie” entries followed, in tandem with a range of studio projects primarily aimed at black audiences — many of which did strong business, from “Think Like a Man” to “Law Abiding Citizen.” In 2010, after a nasty breakup, she almost quit acting to become a nun. Then came “Girls Trip,” the 2017 blockbuster comedy that grossed over $140 million worldwide. It’s the sort of massive cultural success that could have catapulted Hall to even greater commercial heights.
Instead, she starred in “Support the Girls,” a modestly budgeted character study from writer-director Andrew Bujalski. The endearing slice-of-life dramedy centers on Hall as Lisa, the committed manager of a grimy Texas sports bar staffed by scantily clad waitresses, as she juggles a day that never slows down. Bujalski’s understated approach is Altmanesque in its capacity to explore the nuances of a neglected corner of American society, but Hall injects the movie with revelatory energy: She’s the adult in every room, a stern warrior on behalf of her vulnerable staffers, a good samaritan at odds with an indifferent world. As she carries scene after scene, Hall makes it clear that another chapter of her career has arrived — and appreciation for her work is long overdue.
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