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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 23.19%
Average: 4.35%
Pretty Bad: 2.9%
Total Crap: 5.8%

6 reviews, 33 user ratings

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Waitress (2007)
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by Scott Weinberg

"One of the most huggable movies I've ever seen."
5 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2007 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL: I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm kind of a "manly man" where movies are generally concerned. I'm a huge fan of graphic violence, drooling monsters, pointless nudity and raunchy humor. I'll take Bruce Willis over Hugh Grant any day, and my old-school heroes are Snake Plissken, Han Solo and Mad Max. So can somebody tell me why I found a movie called "Waitress" so damn appealing that it almost brought tears to my eyes?

I'm sure that part of my emotional response to Waitress comes from the tragic news surrounding its release. Long story short: Actress / writer / director Adrienne Shelly was murdered less than six months ago, which makes the arrival of her final (and best) film something of a bittersweet occurrence. The movie's just so lovable you'll want to hug it ... but the knowledge of its creator's untimely demise will jam a lump in your throat that's got nothing to do with the movie itself.

And what a great little gift Ms. Shelly left behind.

Whenever I trash the newest and shallowest "chick flicks" to hit the screens, movies like Waitress are why I do it. Here is a movie about women that doesn't preach or pander or offer stupid answers to maudlin questions. It just is about women -- and some pretty likable ones, too.

Keri Russell plays Jenna, a painfully sweet waitress who works in a pies-only diner and bakes the most perfect pies in the world. Jenna is married to a possessive lout called Earl (played with desperately oily precision by Jeremy Sisto), but yearns for something better. All it would take to make this lovely lass happy is a chance to compete in the big bake-off a few towns over -- but Earl is hearing none of it. His wife is to remain shackled to a go-nowhere job (and his bedpost).

Fortunately for Jenna, several allies are afoot. There's the amusingly sassy Becky (Cheryl Hines), the slow-witted sweetheart (Adrienne Shelly), the crotchety curmudgeon (Andy Griffith), and a dreamy new obstetrician in town (Nathan Fillion). Oh, did I forget to mention that Jenna is two months pregnant, desperately unhappy, and entirely non-thrilled to be a new mother?

Yeah, it all sounds like a grand old two-hour episode of Alice, I know. But there's such a palpable sense of sweetness found in this movie; its sincere affection for its characters is what elevates Waitress beyond the trappings of a mere sitcom. (Even a cool sitcom like Alice.) The cast, most obviously, should be given much of the acclaim for what works best in Waitress. Keri Russell has quite simply never been better than she is here; she and Nathan Fillion strike an effortlessly charming chemistry together. And to those who know Fillion only from Firefly / Serenity, well, be prepared to be impressed. This guy's got leading man's chops all the way, especially in the comedy department ... although I still kinda wish he'd stick to "the genre" and just become the next Bruce Campbell.

So the thing's perfectly adorably sweet, right? Yep, but Shelly is a better filmmaker than that; Waitress also packs a strong but subtle sense of sarcasm, an off-kilter satirical edge that adds an extra (and rather welcome) dimension to the flick. Like a small splash of cinnamon on a hot apple pie.

Bottom line is I loved this movie. Loved every last character, twist, kiss, joke and pie found within it. I will force other people to see it, beam contentedly when they tell me they loved it, and then buy the DVD and make my friends watch it. Rest in peace, Ms. Shelly, and thank you for this seriously sweet little confection.

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originally posted: 02/03/07 19:15:39
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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

4/05/13 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
1/13/09 Anonymous. a sweet comedy with a good story! yay! :] 4 stars
1/06/09 Luisa Heartwarming, funny, loved it!! 4 stars
9/21/08 Annie G Without any lame bakery metaphors, I loved this film in spite of its minor flaws. 5 stars
7/04/08 Payne by name Demeaning to women that you are only empowered by having a baby 1 stars
5/12/08 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
1/14/08 David Pollastrini Keri Russel is hot in this! 3 stars
1/05/08 Ellen A sincere and honest film that throws in an extra pinch of humor for good measure. 4 stars
1/03/08 Julie Sage Good acting & clever pies can't save unoriginal, predictable waste of time. 2 stars
1/01/08 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
11/09/07 Naghma Overall, a very good movie, if a little predictable. 4 stars
10/24/07 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
6/07/07 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
5/29/07 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
5/27/07 WalkingDisaster What a lovely performance from Keri Russell! 4 stars
5/26/07 Heather Bittersweet confection of a movie, with a blob of sweet cream at the end 5 stars
5/23/07 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
5/14/07 Hallie Very sweet and sincere. 4 stars
5/09/07 David Pollastrini Russell looks hot in this! 3 stars
5/05/07 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
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  02-May-2007 (PG-13)
  DVD: 27-Nov-2007



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