Directed by Adrienne Shelly.
Written by Adrienne Shelly.
Starring Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion, Cheryl Hines and Jeremy Sisto.
Release Year: 2007
Review Date: 5/17/07
Our Wednesday-night softball game cancelled,
I had a bit of a window to fill since I was amped up to do something
but not so amped that I wanted to hit a club downtown. So, I
drove to the art house theater near my apartment and decided to see
"Waitress", the new comedy with Keri Russell ("Felicity") as...a
Sure, there were other options, and upon
reflection now, I should have probably gone to see
"Hot Fuzz" again,
because THAT was fucking hilarious. Not so much for
"Waitress", a kooky comedy that is quite short on laughs and had a
chemistry issue with our three waitress leads matched with a
romantic angle that always makes me gag...the combination of all of
this left me hangin', even if the film is quite watchable as you
wait to see how this will all wrap up.
Russell stars as Jenna, a waitress at a
local diner somewhere in the deep South; along with two other
unlucky souls (played by Cheryl Hines and the writer/director of
"Waitress", Adrienne Shelly), Jenna toils away all day for shitty
tips and an even shittier boss (Lew Temple). To top off this
lovely day-to-day affair, she has to go home to Earl (Jeremy Sisto),
a bastard's bastard who treats Jenna about as badly as a toilet bowl
gets treated by shit and emotionally beats Jenna just about every
chance he gets. When the film opens, we learn that Jenna is in
her sixth week of pregnancy, so she begins visits at the local
doctor's office and commences regular sessions with her new doctor,
Dr. Pomatter (Nathan Fillion, from
Thanks to Jenna's problems at home and the good doctor's natural
inclination to cheat on his wife, they begin an affair while Jenna
goes through her shitty life cycle each and every day.
It should be noted that I always have
problems with films where affairs are just this accepted way of
life, as apparently there are no faithful couples in the movies
(never have been, never will be); in "Waitress", pretty much
everyone is cheating on everyone, and that's just the way it should
be, right? Worse, in "Waitress", it appears that Fillion's
character has a wife who loves him and is faithful to him, so we are
left to be amused by how much he enjoys humping the Russell
character. Ugh. I'll admit, this might be funny to those
who can relax and sit back and enjoy people cheating on each other,
but not for me.
The bigger problem I had with "Waitress" was
that the first 30 minutes of the film REALLY suck. Our theater
probably only had 30-40 people in it, but no one was laughing, or
for that matter, even breathing, during the first half-hour, and I
think that was because nothing interesting, funny, cool, dramatic,
or worthwhile was going on. Shelly might know her
pies--watching people make pies is maybe the film's strongest asset
for a food lover like myself--but I don't think her ability to build
momentum in a film is strong enough to match that pie knowledge.
I just never got the feeling that Jenna would ever call her two
other waitress buddies friends; I never got into the fact that Andy
Griffith--bless him for even being in this film--could be a dirty
old man; he's fucking MATLOCK, for Chrissakes!!! The last five
minutes of "Waitress" really blow; there are way too many scenes
that establish Jenna's husband as a bad guy. After a while,
they only infuriate sensible adults and Shelly could have made her
point about that character with two scenes instead of six or seven.
I did laugh occasionally; Fillion does have
fantastic comic timing. And, I like chocolate, even if I don't
like pies, so every so often, there are beautiful "damn, that XXXX
looks good!" moments that work. But overall, "Waitress"
dropped the ball for me. I almost saw this at Sundance, too,
so I guess I got lucky to skip it after all.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard