Monday, January 14, 2008


The verdict: Heartfelt, bittersweet comedy with a likeable ensemble cast, and a really great lead performance.

The rating: 7/10

Before I start, let me just say, any movie that can incorporate a pie-eating contest is alright by me.

Right, so 'Waitress' tells the story of Jenna, a southern girl who has somehow ended up working a dead end job, married to the wrong guy, and without much happiness in her life. She works at a local diner, doing what she loves best: making pies. Now, by all accounts, Jenna's pies are pretty great, good enough to win competitions maybe, so she plots to scrimp enough cash to get to a local competition, where the prize is $25,000 - enough for her to start a new life maybe... Unfortunately, she suddenly realises she's got one in the oven, and I don't mean a souflee.

Waitress is such a simple slice-of-life story, that I don't want to give away much more, but it is set primarily in the Diner where Jenna works, and despite the relatively serious subject matter, is actually a bittersweet comedy. The other two waitresses at the diner (played by Curb Your Enthusiasm's Cheryl Hines, and writer/director Adrienne Shelly) share their relative highs and lows in finding a partner, while dealing with their demanding customers and loudmouth boss as best they can.

All the central characters share something in common - the simple need to be loved, and they're all finding the answer to this need in weird and wonderful places. Now, I'm aware that this description sounds dangerously close to 'romantic comedy', but don't be fooled readers, Waitress is better than that short-hand description might suggest. For a start, it's very well written, creating a relaxed, off-beat mood right from the kick-off. It's undemanding, warm, and full of likeable, flawed characters, with the likeable ones figuring things out as they go, and the rare one or two who remain stuck in their rut.

Keri Russell is great in the lead, and Hines and Shelly give decent support. Nathan Fillion plays the new doc in town, doing himself no harm, and even Matlock shows up! Yep, that's right, Andy Griffith plays the grumpy old diner regular, with enough Schadenfreude to make a paparazzi journalist look like a boy scout.

The balance between comedy and drama plays out well, and you should be interested in what happens to Jenna, as Keri Russell is more than watchable, and her character is realistic and likeable.

Somehow, this movie appears to have been completely overlooked last year, but for an off-beat, relaxing dvd that the missus would like as well, you could do far worse than 'Waitress'.

No comments:

/** Amazon Affiliates code /** Google Analytics Code