Jenna is unhappily married, squirreling away money, and hoping to win a pie-baking contest so, with the prize money, she'll have enough cash to leave her husband Earl. She finds herself pregnant, which throws her plans awry. She bakes phenomenal pies at Joe's diner, listens to old Joe's wisdom, tolerates her sour boss Cal, is friends with Dawn and Becky (her fellow waitresses), and finds a mutual attraction with the new doctor in town. As the pregnancy advances, life with Earl seems less tolerable, a way out less clear, and the affair with the doctor complicated by his marriage. What options does a waitress have?Written by
It is awfully difficult to write about the new pie-filled romantic comedy Waitress without indiscreetly mentioning the tragic death of its writer, director, and co-star Adrienne Shelly. Whenever a wonderfully unique moment occurred in the film, there was a realization that Shelly will sadly never reach her true potential made evident in the film. A major hit at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, one would think Waitress would be a strange, oddly funny gem of a film, due to the festival's independent sensibilities. Yet what starts as that refreshing, different type of a film, turns into another familiar, mainstream romantic comedy.
The film starts with Jenna, perfectly played by Keri Russell, a waitress at a southern diner, who soon discovers that she is pregnant. Jenna's greatest gift is her apparent extraordinary ability to create amazingly delicious pies. Making her own original pies with inventive names seems to help her escape from life with her angry, insecure, narcissistic husband (Jeremy Sisto). Giving Jenna more of a reason to simply run away from her marriage is her new gynecologist, Dr. Potmatter (Nathan Fillion), whom she soon has an affair with. The film is loaded with other memorable roles including her fellow waitresses Becky (Cheryl Hines), and Dawn (Shelly), Dawn's eccentric poetry shouting stalker/boyfriend Ogie (Eddie Jemison), and Old Joe, the diner's owner, and the man whom only Jenna can tolerate, unforgettably brought to life by Andy Griffith.
Waitress is one of the better romantic comedies a wife would drag her husband to, with supremely enjoyable moments, hilarious bits of dialogue, and a first-rate performance by Russell. Her performance is key to the film, as she is basically the only fully developed character. Yet, by the end of the day, the Waitress is still a very light, undoubtedly sentimental, but genuinely pleasant offering by a filmmaker who should have had a great future as an auteur.
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