Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Waitress (2007)

This Movie Is Dumb Pie:

3/4 cups of terrible story, unbearable
2 cups of terrible dialogue, cheesy
2 cups of terrible dialogue, lame
1/4 cups of terrible acting, pathetic
Add a sprinkle of "I can't wait for this movie to be over."


- Waitress is a terrible movie: a "romantic" comedy that does not know whether it is a mostly cutesy romcom or a mostly dramatic romcom. The film tells the story of a waitress, Jenna, who is especially good at making pies. She also happens to be married to a scumbag and just found out that she is pregnant. When she decides to give her doctor house calls (if you know what I mean), the situation gets even more complicated.

Before we get into why Waitress is a terrible movie, I have to say that there are a couple of positives in the acting arena. Keri Russell did manage to do a good job overall in her starring role as Jenna, carrying the film as far as she possibly could by handling some of the film's dismal dialogue well, creating generally sympathetic main character, and being naturally enchanting and captivating screen presence. I also liked Adrienne Shelly in her role as Dawn, one of Jenna's friends and fellow waitress (Shelly also wrote and directed the film).

Unfortunately, these are only positive things that I took away from Waitress.

Besides Russell and Shelly, the remaining cast members are down-right bad. Jeremy Sisto overacted throughout the whole film as Earl, the deadbeat husband; Cheryl Hines was annoying as another one of Jenna's friends, Becky; and, although it was surprising to find out he is in fact not dead, Andy Griffith is a nonentity in the film as Old Joe.

The worst performance of the film is awarded to Nathan Fillion - and I say this very begrudgingly as an overall fan of Fillion (especially "Firefly" and "Castle"). He simply did not work in his role as Dr. Pomatter. Fillion was not funny at any point during the film; he failed at adding the "odd" quality to the character that Jenna kept saying he had; and more importantly did not create a likable character in the least. However, Fillion's failure was spurred on by the fact that his Dr. Pomatter character does not have a single logical motive for anything he does throughout the entire movie. At the end of the film when Jenna ends their affair, Pomatter says "So I don't have any say in this?" And I have an easy answer to that question: NO!

Of course you don't have any say in this - you shouldn't have a say in anything you do because you're a moron Doc! You need help. Let's take a reflective look shall we? You are a successful doctor and you are already married to a sweet, beautiful red-head and.... You're fooling around with someone else? Where is the motivation for that?? You sir, are an IDIOT!

As bad as the majority of the performances and characters in Waitress are, the script is what really kills the film. The themes go from cutesy to dark to cutesy to dark to cutesy to dark into infinity and never does either of these directions gel in the film. Pick one and let's get a move on!

But, in the end, it does not matter which path Waitress walks. When the film is cutesy, it is the sighing in bored disbelief cutesy with a corny, groping in the dark attempt at fun romantic comedy. When a scene gets dark, it is the kind of roll-you-eyes, facepalm failed attempt at serious drama - often times due to Sisto's overacting.

Boy, what a combo.

Then we have yet another recurring low point throughout the film: how, in a flash, the attitudes of the characters do a kind of 180 degree backflip that one can only find in the back pages of the Failblog. Jenna hated her baby and then, suddenly, BAM: she loves it. Jenna was afraid of her husband and then, suddenly, BAM- she is no longer afraid of him anymore after labor (or maybe it was the epidural?). And the character backflips are not simply limited to the character of Jenna - everyone is doing them! Dawn hated Ogie and then, suddenly, BAM: she loves him. Cal was a schmuck boss and then, suddenly, BAM: he is spilling his feelings out all over the place. See where I am going with this?

Also, as a sort of side note, if I hear the "Baby Don't You Cry" song that is played over and over and over again throughout the film one more time.... I just might give myself a lethal injection.

In a nutshell, Waitress has a terrible story with terrible dialogue and terrible acting. Dinner is served.

CBC Rating: 4/10

After I saw Waitress, I was very shocked to discover that that Adrienne Shelly was murdered before the film's release. With this in mind, know that I attack Shelly's film Waitress out of my own individual passion for movies and not with a cold shoulder in the face of her death. Shelly's story is a heartbreaking one and I hope that her family has found a way to cope with her most untimely death.

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