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Overall Rating
4.36

Awesome63.77%
Worth A Look: 23.19%
Just Average: 4.35%
Pretty Crappy: 2.9%
Sucks: 5.8%

6 reviews, 33 user ratings


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Waitress (2007)
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by brianorndorf

"I'm going to miss Adrienne Shelly"
5 stars

Adrienne Shelly’s “Waitress” has so much more going for it than what the surface suggests. Past the white picket fences and beneath the gee-willickers exterior lies a romantic comedy that leads with a passion and honesty few in the genre even bother to pursue. It’s candy, but with a deliciously sour center.

Stuck in a marriage to a creep (Jeremy Sisto) and newly pregnant, Jenna (Keri Russell) is looking for a doorway out of her life. Distracting herself with a tedious job as a waitress and dreaming of devastating pie recipes, Jenna locates some ray of hope in the arms of Dr. Pomatter (Nathan Fillion), the town physician. Now Jenna must come to a decision: stay unhappy and safe, or dare to make her own way.

At first, “Waitress” comes across as one of those featherweight fantasy films where the lovelorn lady meets the knight of her dreams. The picture is that, but pitched at the screen with a wicked curveball, courtesy of Shelly’s astute, inventive screenplay.

“Waitress” isn’t all that easy to clarify, mashing up bits of down-home atmosphere, sensuality through the art of baking, and depictions of domestic abuse and other marital bear traps. Much like Jenna’s luxurious pies, it’s a strange concoction that takes a few bites to get acquainted with, but once the sweet taste is established, it’s impossible to get it out of your system.

In her third directorial effort, Shelly shows great command behind the camera. “Waitress” is a little idiosyncratic piece of fun, and Shelly knows every curl of it. In her casting, there’s a troupe falling over themselves to get in on the good times. From the charming lead work of Russell to a supporting appearance by Andy Griffith (as the diner owner and Jenna’s secret, cranky admirer), Shelly gives all the actors their moment of sugared distinction.

The director is also willing to get a little dark with this material, exploring Jenna’s vicious distaste for motherhood and especially in the overall mood of infidelity that permeates the picture. Seriously, everyone is cheating in the flick, yet you waltz out of the theater with a miraculously clear understanding of motivations and purpose. It’s a celebration of marital demolition with a wink in its side pocket and served with a cherry on top.

Shelly also shows amazing skill in the art of the comedic and cinematic repetition. The director returns to visual gags and music cues over and over, creating a friendly connection with the viewer through this neighborly echo. It’s an efficient way to set tone and allows for characters to be established with minimal fuss. “Waitress” is adored with this sensibility, and I believe that’s why the finished product is so atypically soothing. Shelly leads with her heart and her skill, and that comfort shines in the picture, erasing any strain of convention that might flutter past the senses.

The bittersweet coda to “Waitress” is that Shelly never received the chance to watch her film delight millions. Senselessly murdered in 2006, the filmmaker/actress demonstrated tremendous progress as a director with this feature, while also putting in a soft reminder just how sweet a screen presence she held. She will be missed, but as a final piece of entertainment, “Waitress” is finely tuned, assured, wonderfully silly, and every bit as lovely as Shelly was.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=15777&reviewer=404
originally posted: 05/04/07 01:37:29
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2007 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Philadelphia Film Festival For more in the 2007 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Deep Focus Film Festival For more in the 2007 Deep Focus Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

4/04/13 David Hollingsworth Sweet, homemade, funny, and a naturally good tribute to Ms. Shelly. 5 stars
6/09/10 Serge very sweet movie, a little hyped for what it is but we had fun! 4 stars
1/12/09 Anonymous. a sweet comedy with a good story! yay! :] 4 stars
1/05/09 Luisa Heartwarming, funny, loved it!! 4 stars
9/20/08 Annie G Without any lame bakery metaphors, I loved this film in spite of its minor flaws. 5 stars
7/03/08 Payne by name Demeaning to women that you are only empowered by having a baby 1 stars
6/20/08 PAUL SHORTT NO AMOUNT OF QUALITY SERVICE CAN COVER UP A SLICE OF LIFE THAT HAS BEEN SO OVERBAKED 1 stars
5/11/08 Carole One of worst films I've ever seen. Stupid, unfunny, dfialogue terrible 1 stars
4/15/08 Derek k Fantastic. I hate Romantic Comedies, but this is just uncliched, unpredictable brilliance. 5 stars
1/13/08 David Pollastrini Keri Russel is hot in this! 3 stars
1/04/08 Ellen A sincere and honest film that throws in an extra pinch of humor for good measure. 4 stars
1/02/08 Julie Sage Good acting & clever pies can't save unoriginal, predictable waste of time. 2 stars
12/31/07 Susan I absolutely loves this movie (meaningful, heartwarming, great acting). 5 stars
12/30/07 dan Feminist screed. Every man is despicable. Every woman exploited. Yuck! 1 stars
11/08/07 Naghma Overall, a very good movie, if a little predictable. 4 stars
10/23/07 William Goss Southern small-town 'fable' feels forced, is just too tonally tart to win one over whole. 3 stars
6/15/07 The Talking Elbow I'm so happy I watched this movie 5 stars
6/06/07 Wendy Loved how every character was not quite what they seemed. XLnt acting, great movie. R.I.P. 4 stars
6/04/07 matthew edward this film is the best chick flick i have ever seen 4 stars
6/02/07 Mungo Sarnoff Smothering fluff. even my wife hated it.And that treackly song! 2 stars
5/28/07 Jeff Anderson A wonderful, sweet & beautiful film with a gr8 Russell performance. R.I.P. Adrienne Shelly. 5 stars
5/27/07 Merle Great acting. Great story. A must see! 5 stars
5/27/07 fools♫gold The most underrated film ever, even if everyone gives it a perfect score. 5 stars
5/26/07 WalkingDisaster What a lovely performance from Keri Russell! 4 stars
5/25/07 Heather Bittersweet confection of a movie, with a blob of sweet cream at the end 5 stars
5/22/07 Brian Mckay Cute and clever, but wraps everything up too neatly and easily 4 stars
5/21/07 michael renzullo deeply touched by this film...keri russell amazed me 5 stars
5/14/07 Raymond Brown Sweet winsome movie, mis Adrienne 5 stars
5/14/07 Marilyn Excellent film-great acting 5 stars
5/13/07 Hallie Very sweet and sincere. 4 stars
5/08/07 David Pollastrini Russell looks hot in this! 3 stars
5/04/07 Brian Michaels Anyone that's had a child or a relationship - man or woman - will love this movie! 5 stars
5/02/07 Cindy Loved it!! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  02-May-2007 (PG-13)
  DVD: 27-Nov-2007

UK
  N/A

Australia
  27-Oct-2007




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