comedies are a dime a dozen in these times, and while I
enjoy the laughs that go along with that fluttery feeling
us woman get while watching these pieces, often as not,
they’re not worth the time spent microwaving the popcorn.
now and again though, an original story comes poking into
the market, and though small, it’s sweet story and
honest laughs make it a gem of a movie. Waitress
is one of those gems. While there have been food-based romances
before (Chocolat being a well-known example), Waitress
is refreshing, using pies as a tasty counterpart to the
story’s emotions and events.
is Adrianne Shelly’s final film, as she was tragically
murdered last year. But this film is a wonderful lasting
effort by her. Not only does she show her directing chops,
with a quickly paced, but lovingly told story, she also
stars, and wrote the story to begin with. And what a lovely
story it is.
circles around young Jenna (Keri Russell), a waitress at
the local diner, who is stuck in a loveless marriage. When
she becomes pregnant, her plans for escape are put on hold,
while she struggles with her control freak misogynist of
a husband, Earl (Jeremy Sisto), her job (and love) making
pies, and her newfound affection for her obstetrician, Dr.
Pomatter (Nathan Fillion).
swings from poignant, to painful, to hilarious in short
strokes, not lingering anywhere too long. Its pacing is
excellent, keeping the watcher engaged, but not feeling
like things are taking too long. It’s all told sweetly
and with little in the way of empty time.
fits into the role of Jenna well, though her accent does
sound a little flat. Her monologues to her unborn child,
in the form of letters to the baby are some of the more
“aww” moments of the film, as well as some of
the funnier, as she also complains about the baby in said
letters. There’s a detachment that Jenna has that
stems from her abusive husband, and it’s done just
beautifully by Ms. Russell. Watching her retreat in scenes
with her husband makes you just feel for her.
Sisto has the unenviable role of Earl, Jenna’s husband,
and there isn’t an adjective strong enough to describe
what a bastard Earl is. Sisto is downright scary as Earl,
and not in that extremely violent, raging sort of way. Earl
is abusive in that way that only comes casually, when a
man thinks everything he’s saying is just honest to
god truth, and it’s just how the world is. Saying
terrible things in a warm, matter of fact way put shudders
down my spine.
with the few laughs Earl does gets when his ignorance is
revealed, he’s still a scary example of abuse. Sisto
gets my applause not only for taking the role, but playing
such a frightening man so well.
of the comic relief definitely comes from Cheryl Hines and
Shelly herself, two of the funniest characters in the movie.
Almost always scene stealers, these two are by far the funniest
part of the film, for simple, innocent commentary that ends
up being utterly hilarious. And also, look for an appearance
by the ever funny Eddie Jemison, wearing a Southern accent
like it was made for him, spouting poetry of dubious (but
Fillion is just sweetly adorable, and I’m not saying
that just because I have a crush on him. His character isn’t
too developed, as I had a few questions about him that I
would have liked answered, but his Dr. Pomatter is a wonderfully
loving compliment to Jeremy Sisto’s terrible Earl.
His awkwardness in the beginning is a little stilted, but
there’s a moment where he switches from awkward to
determined, and trust me, it’s a scene worth paying
attention to. There are moments when he’s channeling
his soap opera days, and it’s gut wrenchingly funny.
that this film isn’t the fairy tale love story that
abounds in so many places. It shows that there are different
kinds of love, that it occurs in different places and in
different ways. It’s not this stock thing that will
be the same for everyone. Waitress also passes
a message of taking control of life, not letting life control
you. A touching, and truly memorable film, and a worthy
legacy for an excellent writer and director.