Bernie Cates requests the services of the most absent-minded waiter he's ever seen, who pours water before setting the glasses, endlessly repeats questions, brings wrong orders, and ruins everything- but the bill.
With the help of a talking freeway billboard, a wacky weatherman tries to win the heart of an English newspaper reporter, who is struggling to make sense of the strange world of early 1990s Los Angeles.
Richard E. Grant
Steven, a clumsy man with the memory of a goldfish, works as a waiter at a fancy restaurant downtown. When the happily-married couple of Bernie and Susan arrive for dinner, the most absent-minded waiter in the world will do everything in his power to offer an unforgettable and profoundly gratifying experience. Written by
Early on in his fame, Steve Martin gave massive credit to Jerry Lewis' style of zaniness. The Absent-Minded Waiter is an obvious homage to Lewis' wacko style, and a superb one at that.
Pundits will say it's little more than an extended early-"Saturday Night Live" sketch--"SNL" vet Buck Henry even has a major role--but for sheerly silly laughs, it can't be beat. Martin plays the most moronic waiter ever hired for a restaurant. Henry plays a war-veteran of AMW's shenanigans who brings his wife (Garr) to the restaurant for a crash course. It's no-hold-barred craziness, and since it lasts only seven minutes, it's just long enough to be hilarious and not unbearable.
Martin and fellow writer Carl Gottlieb obviously hit pay dirt a couple of years later with The Jerk, but this is an extremely funny warm-up for that feature. (In fact, Martin used it as a prologue for his live stand-up act for years.) It's been released on video, so search hard for it--it's worth the while.
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