Sunday, June 1, 2008

Waitress (2007)

Dr. Pomatter (Nathan Fillion): I want to talk to you, somewhere outside of here. Maybe we can have a coffee or something?
Jenna (Keri Russell): I can't have coffee, it's on the bad food list you gave to me. What kind of doctor are you?

"I was addicted to saying things and having them matter to someone."
- Jenna

At a glance: This mildly quirky slice-of-life drama/comedy about a young, reluctant mom and her pathetic husband beats to its own drummer, relying neither on too many jokes or too much heavy drama, and instead is carried solely on the strength of Keri Russell’s tour-de-force performance, and the supporting work of Jeremy Sisto, Nathan Fillion and Andy Griffith.

Meet Jenna (Keri Russell). She’s a waitress with a talent (more a gift, really) for making unique and delicious pies to fit any mood. But her life is not happy: she’s married to the overbearing Earl (Jeremy Sisto), and despite her hatred of him, he got her drunk – and pregnant, and she just found out about the pregnancy part. It’s no wonder that she practically attacks her sexy, sensitive local doctor (Nathan Fillion). All the while, she has her strange friendship with Joe (Andy Griffith) and her bonding friendships with fellow waitresses Becky (Cheryl Hines) and Dawn (Adrienne Shelly, who also wrote and directed). Interesting film is happy to float along, presenting serious situations with a natural flippance. There are plenty of potentially wrenchingly dramatic moments, but they are all played out on the surface. Nor are there many moments of hilarious comedy. But in this case, that isn’t such a bad thing; it just adds to the feeling that this is a film that isn’t trying to dot the I’s and cross the T’s. Instead, the performances are allowed to stand out for themselves, particularly that of Russell, who brings a comedic sincerity to the role. The ‘pie’ theme is used throughout: every dramatic moment is punctuated by a pie recipe (with visual) that suits the moment (like, for example, the "I Hate My Husband Pie"). This is a unique, top-notch entry in the romcom, chick flick genre. A sad postscript: writer/director/actor Adrienne Shelly was murdered in New York just after the completion of this project.Rating: 3 of 4

"Keri Russell sparkles in this story about a piemaker who longs for something more filling."
- Wesley Lovell (Oscar Guy)

"I dare you to sit through Waitress and not fall for Russell.Her face is open like a baby's and sculpted like a goddess'."
- Jordan Hiller (

"Its almost-bedtime-story delivery heightens its design as a parable about finding focus and clarity after enduring much chaos and wading through the mud."
- Jeffrey Chen (Window to the Movies)