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A Day in the Life of Gutsy “Den Mother” In Charge of Beleaguered Sports Bar

Double Whammies is an unremarkable watering hole located along a desolate strip of highway outside Austin, where truckers and regulars can slip in and out quietly without drawing much attention to themselves. The seedy sports bar, a la your typical Hooters, is known for its booze and finger food served by scantily-clad waitresses in cut-off jeans and low-cut tops. 

The place is run with an iron fist by Lisa Conroy (Regina Hall), a very-protective den mother who takes seriously her mission to shield her employees from perverts inclined to cross a line to fraternize improperly. Though she shows her tough side to the clientele, the tenderhearted manager handles her staff with big kids’ gloves. 

Lisa’s motley crew ranges from naive newcomers to hardened pros, and she’s blessed with a knack for knowing precisely what sort of support each needs. Unfortunately, she’s not appreciated by Double Whammies’ owner, Cubby (James Le Gros), probably because the club always seems to have a host of unresolved woes. 

For example, at the moment, there’s a burglary in progress thanks to a hapless perp who got himself stuck in a ceiling vent. Lisa knows the show must go on, so instead of summoning the police, she has her own way of dealing with such a distraction which keeps the wheels turning but frustrates her skeptical boss. That’s just the way it goes at this quirky haunt. 

Written and directed by Andrew Bujalski (Beeswax), the film features many of the hallmarks of the low-budget genre on which the Mumblecore maven built his career. The picture effectively paints a poignant portrait of a day in the life of a humble, dedicated, working-class heroine just trying to make a buck. 

Remember how the indie-flick Paterson (2016) managed to elevate a lowly New Jersey poet/bus driver? Well, this tale of female empowerment pulls off a similar feat. Raw-edged cinema verite’ cut to the bone, if that’s your taste. 

Very Good (3 stars)
Rated R for profanity, sexual references and brief nudity
Running time: 90 minutes
Production Studios: Burn Later Productions / Houston King Productions
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures

 

OPENING THIS WEEK
Kam’s Kapsules
Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun
For movies opening August 31, 2018

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Blood Fest (Unrated) Horror comedy about fright fans who flock to a scary movie festival only to discover that the show’s charismatic promoter (Owen Egerton) is a psycho with a grisly, hidden agenda. Co-starring Seychelle Gabriel, Robbie Kay and Jacob Batalon.

Destination Wedding (R for sexuality and pervasive profanity) Romantic comedy revolving around a couple of miserable wedding guests (Keanu Reeves and Winoa Ryder) who fall for each other at the reception. Cast includes Greg Lucey, Ted Dubost and D. Rosh Wright.

The Little Stranger (R for disturbing bloody images) Suspense thriller, set during the summer of 1948, about a country doctor (Domnhall Gleason) who encounters more than he bargained for when he makes a house call to a haunted Gothic mansion where his mother once worked as a maid. With Will Poulter, Charlotte Rampling and Ruth Wilson.

A Paris Education (Unrated) Coming-of-age drama about an aspiring, young filmmaker (Andranic Manet) who moves from Lyon to Paris to study cinema only to fall under the spell of a charismatic classmate (Corentin Fila). Featuring Diane Rouxel, Jenna Thiam and Sophie Verbeeck. (In French with subtitles.)

Reprisal (R for profanity and violence) Cat-and-mouse thriller about a bank manager (Frank Grillo) who teams up with an ex-cop (Bruce Willis) to apprehend the robber (Johnathon Schaech) who murdered his co-worker. Cast includes Olivia Culpo, Jesse Pruett and Natali Yura.

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