Support the Girls

Andrew Bujalski finds comedy in the social maneuvering of little subcultures: the postcollegiate New York hipsters of Mutual Appreciation (2005), the Carter-era nerds of Computer Chess (2013), the fanatical fitness trainers of his mainstream crossover, Results (2015). Though partly improvised, Bujalski’s movies have a writerly quality, the various characters all speaking from his distinctive sensibility, which makes this fifth feature something of a stretch for the Boston-born, Harvard-educated director. His group this time is an assortment of nubile young women waiting tables at Double Whammies, a Hooters-style “family” restaurant along a Texas interstate, and Bujalski conjures up a charming if not entirely convincing milieu around them and their sunny, long-suffering manager (Regina Hall in a dazzling performance). Most of the laughs spring from the inherent contradiction of the business, whose waitresses are coached to flirt with customers but not to let situations get out of hand. The story meanders near the end, but the anticlimax can’t quite dispel the movie’s warm eccentricity.