It’s not much to look at. Double Whammies is a squat concrete sports bar crouched by a relentlessly screaming highway. But for fiercely protective general manager Lisa (Regina Hall), it’s a matter of pride. The institution is, she states, a “mainstream” one; the scantily clad girls who serve up “Big Ass” beers and a chaser shot of flirtation to the punters are a family. And at the beginning of the eventful 24-hour period over which the film plays out, one of the family is in trouble, having run over her abusive boyfriend with her car.
Lisa sets up an illicit fundraising car wash, in addition to dealing with the childcare issues of staff members and the hapless burglar who is wedged in the air con vent. Add a vindictive boss with rage issues and the slow, painful breakup of her marriage and Lisa has plenty to juggle with, even before the cable TV packs in and someone vomits all over the men’s toilets.
Written and directed by “mumblecore” pioneer Andrew Bujalski, this bittersweet comedy-drama is structured as a vivid mosaic of scenes rather than a straight narrative through-arc. While the approach can feel episodic, like the central character Lisa, this is storytelling that has a warm and accepting embrace of its girls. And under the party whoops and confetti cannons there’s a deceptively complex and layered portrait of female solidarity in the face of ingrained sexism, racism and general male shittiness.