Greetings again from the darkness. Very personal and intimate story from the very talented Adrienne Shelly. Ms. Shelly was tragically murdered before the film was released, but what a legacy and gift she left for her husband, daughter and film lovers.
Keri Russell ("Felicity") stars as Jenna, a fabulous pie maker who is a lost soul married to the world's worst husband - played brilliantly by Jeremy Sisto. She works at a diner with her two friends played wonderfully by the bubbly Cheryl Hines and the film's writer and director, Adrienne Shelly. The relationship between these three is very realistic, touching and entertaining. They love and cherish each other.
Outstanding support from Eddie Jemison ("Ocean's Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen"), Nathan Fillian ("Serenity") and the great Andy Griffith, who has some great lines and definitely should work more often!! Jemison's spontaneous poetry capture the heart of Ms. Shelly's character and Fillian's Dr. Pomatter shows Russell what it is like to be adored, rather than abused.
This is not slick Hollywood film-making. It is quirky ... just like real life. These are characters, who for the most part, make the best of their situations. Every now and then, if we are lucky, we capture a moment of pure bliss ... whether it is in the selfless hug from another, or the miracle of childbirth. The script analyzes loneliness and bad relationships with a twist of humor and much insight.
While it is heart-breaking that Ms. Shelly did not live to see the final product, we see her heart and soul on screen. And don't miss her real daughter (Sophie Ostrey) as Ms. Russell's 3 year old LuLu. This is a wonderful little film with some terrific moments and a nice message to enjoy your life.
Waitress is a great, funny movie starring Keri Russell as a small-town waitress who discovers that she's pregnant just as she's planning to leave her jealous, controlling husband. The typical Hollywood approach for a movie like this would be to film it in ultra-serious "movie of the week" mode, but writer/director/actor Adrienne Shelly chose to tell her story in an extremely stylized, almost fairy-tale style. The stylized dialogue, super-sharp photography and primary-color palette even reminded me of the movies of Joel & Ethan Coen at times, but in the end, this movie packs an emotional punch that the Coen brothers have rarely achieved. It also features a brilliant (and brilliantly human) performance by Andy Griffith as the horny old geezer who owns the diner where Russell works.
This movie has a good chance at achieving a Little Miss Sunshine-style breakout this year. It's funny, quirky and honestly touching. Waitress stands as a fine legacy for Adrienne Shelly, but if things had been different, it could have been the movie that launched her into the mainstream instead of her swan song.
Ever since the Felicity days I've loved Keri Russell, so I was excited to see a screening of this in Santa Monica a week or so ago. I also have enjoyed Nathan Fillion in Serenity and the short-lived show Firefly that preceded that. But even with those expectations I was pleasantly surprised with this movie. It seems like in the past few years movies have become (or maybe they have always been) incredibly predictable. You go see a romantic comedy and it's almost like you can write the next line. I don't know about you, but I kind of like not knowing what is going to come next. That is part of the intrigue. The characters in this movie were diverse, funny, and completely endearing. In Waitress the dialogue is surprising and different. I really enjoyed the quirkiness of the characters. The crowd I viewed this movie with spanned many generations and it seemed to me that nearly everyone was laughing and enjoying themselves. I would recommend this to guys, girls, whoever...if you go in thinking it is going to be like every other movie you will really be happy when you leave the theater. I am definitely going to see it again when it is released this weekend.
I have been a big Adrienne Shelly fan since her early Hal Hartley movies and also saw her uneven but touching "I'll Take You There," where she brought out the screwball in Ally Sheedy without sacrificing her edge. Here she brings out a deeply funny, authentic and moving performance from Keri Russell, a performer I did not dislike but never thought a lot of before this film. She also casts the rest of the people impeccably, A#1 being Andy Griffith;if you've ever seen "A Face in the Crowd" you know that he is one of the titanic largely untapped acting talents of the last century. His scenes with Ms. Russell make up the true heart of this small but mighty film. Jeremy Sisto is perfect as well, his character is not given any background beyond the fact that he changed after marriage, but Sisto constant vulnerability mixed with his monstrosity and telling lines like "I've never had anybody belong to me before," seem to indicate that he became drunk with the power of authority when he entered the marriage and his own fragile sense of power caused him to be the (often hilarious, as with the car honking, often terrible, as with the physical violence) broken, absurd and terrible person he is in the film. Eddie Jemison shines in a part that is really risky, he has to be even more overbearing than Sisto's character, but to be the exact opposite, to be actually worthy. Shelly herself and Cheryl Hines are solid in their support (Shelly is adorable), but keep the spotlight firmly on Ms. Russell. Nathan Fillion has been perfect in everything I've ever seen him in, and his open and unpretentious, handsome semi-doofus-but-convincing-as-a-doctor character shows a broader range than his heretofore role as a sort of new-wave Bruce Campbell.
Unfortunately the film loses its footing towards the end with sentiment overtaking the sensibilities preceding it. A maudlin and manipulative mother-daughter song is obviously ADR and not source, and it relies upon the old "everything changes when you see your baby" switcheroo. Then she leaves the hospital without even checking on Old Joe, who just gave her tons of money and is currently in a coma (presumably because to have him just dead would be what, too much of a downer? A coma is better?), then she buys the pie shop and takes Joe's name off it, which doesn't seem very nice. She gives up any chance for a balanced life and lives entirely for her daughter, who she dresses like a doll and then dresses up the same as. She also ditches the doc who, while married to a good person, obviously loves her more than his wife.
It is through the outright charm of Fillion and Ms. Russell that the entire affair is able to come across as not-as-not-right as it is. But for it to go nowhere brings back the creepiness about it they managed to turn away. The whole first 2/3 of the movie is pretty excellent, but I can't ignore that I was really let down by the way it all wrapped up. Up until that point there is a sense of genuine feeling and a level-headedness about, for example, how difficult it must be to leave even someone like Earl and everything you know, not just making it seem easy. Then at the end she just does it, he is dragged off, apparently never gives her more trouble and it actually was just that easy.
Ms. Shelly was undeniably very very talented and her death is a great loss to the film community (and so sad that the little girl at the end is hers), maybe her next one would have been 3/3 excellent. I think I'm going to go eat some pie now.
I wasn't looking forward to this movie... I went because it was a free preview and more importantly to support Nathan Fillion. It was a lot better than I expected. Nathan was great of course - all of his nervous business was hilarious. It was fun to see him playing a sensitive guy. And I loved Cheryl Hines.
I enjoyed the story a lot, although it does tend to get a little cloying. There's plenty of acid humor to balance it out.
I was hysterical crying at the end of the film, thinking what a horrible tragedy it is that Adrienne Shelly won't be making any more films. She definitely had a lot of talent - I can't get her "Gonna Make a Pie" song out of my head.
Waitress is a film that is almost impossible not to love. It is such an obvious labor of love for all involved and brings out some of the best work of many of those involved. And unlike many "labor of love" films, this one is actually both highly entertaining and easily accessible. From start to finish, it is a heart moving and amusing film with many quirks and magnificent originality. While it is a romantic comedy, it is not a "Hollywood" romantic comedy in that the film rarely -- if ever -- goes where you expect it to go.
The story follows a young waitress (played by Keri Russell) who is married to a full-time loser (Jeremy Sisto) with a mean spirit. She finds out she is pregnant which ultimately puts her on a collision course with the new doctor in town (Nathan Fillion) whom she falls into a passionate love affair with. The film follows this waitress as she tries to sort out her own problematic relationship with her husband, understand what her heart is telling her about her affair, all the while dealing with her everyday life with her fellow waitress friends (Adrienne Shelly and Cheryl Hines) and a grumpy old customer (Andy Griffith) who happens to own the restaurant where she works.
Every character in this film is memorable for one reason or another, including several minor character such as the short-order cook of the restaurant, and even a mother and her young, obnoxious son who frequent the restaurant and strike fear into the pregnant protagonist. Andy Griffith in particular grabs the audience's attention and makes his role a true standout.
The only major criticism that can be brought against the film is some of the camera work. At times the focus is unclear with the camera seemingly unsure which actors it should be staying on and at times simply not being in focus at all. However, it is such a minor issue and would go unnoticed to most audiences that it certainly doesn't bring the quality of the film down in any way.
Adrienne Shelly who acted in, wrote and directed the film (as well as co-set designed, co- costume designed and even provided one of the songs for the film) has left one perfect little film here. It is such a tragedy that she did not live to see this film's release as it certainly would have given her the success she so richly deserved. This film can easily be recommended to anybody who has a heart.
Gorgeously filmed story of Romance/Comedy in a southern town. Russell is sweetly brilliant- soundtrack is soulfully supportive of storyline.. Loved this one and can't wait to see it again in my neighborhood. Andy Griffin couldn't have been more on target. Other characters Cheryl,Nathan, Jeremy- what can I say? brilliant casting. Was thrilled to hear the film was picked up for distribution. The viewer can't help but walk away from WAITRESS with good vibes. Adrienne Shelley was VERY good and her talent as writer, producer will be sorely missed. Was so sad to hear of her tragic murder. Unbelievable. Truth is stranger than fiction.
I just returned from seeing this delightful film at the Harkins Camelview 5 in Scottsdale, AZ. I was so excited to see it. And my anticipation was well worth the wait. This is a tiny, little story with a big heart shaped pie.
From the moment the story started I was totally absorbed. The writing is so smart, and so funny. Throughout the film my heart laughed and ached with longing. Each actor was perfectly attuned to their character. And it was so wonderful to see Andy Griffith on the big screen.
I am sorry to say that I had not heard of Adrienne Shelly until this film. But from this film alone, I can see what a remarkable writer, director, and actress she was.
If you enjoy slice-of-life stories and pie, this is the film for you.
I thought this was a wonderful feel good movie. It developed the characters well, especially Keri Russell's (Jenna). Thanks for making a fun movie that's not afraid to show real 'flawed' people in real situations!! I would recommend this movie to anyone who is sick of phony perfect main stream characters that really don't have any problems. The late Adrienne Shelly did a great job directing and acting in a supporting role. Cheryl Hines adds her great comedic flare! She's also good in Scrubs. I'm glad to see Keri acting in a main role again. She's such a naturally lovable personality on screen as she was in the TV show Felicity. This movie's perfectly fitting since she is currently pregnant! GO SEE THIS MOVIE!!
My boyfriend took me and my 15 year old daughter to see this for Mother's Day and it was PERFECTION. Beautifully written and acted, a movie with heart and a story. We all walked out singing the sweet song at the end of the movie. (I hope the soundtrack comes out soon.) Yes, there were some predictable plot lines but who cares? When a movie is handcrafted like a good pie (ok, slightly hokey but so is the movie), it stands on its own.
Keri Russel is lit like an angel and the storyline between her and her doctor is sweet, slightly silly and tinged with sadness. Andy Griffith gives a great character performance, delivering salty bits of wisdom and memories with equal doses.
I hope this gets a wider release - more people should see it.
Hard to review this film under the circumstances. Adrienne Shelly's death was a body blow to me. I didn't know her apart from her work over the past 18 years, but that was enough to know that we lost someone truly important on November 1, 2006.
It's the movie that matters, and this one shows Shelly coming into her own as a director, the third time out of the gate. It's smart and funny and life-affirming, and when stacked up against "Fay Grim," the latest effort from writer-director Hal Hartley (who gave Shelly her start), there's really no contest: it's the pupil over the mentor all the way.
(Sorry, Hal, if I've offended, though I doubt that you'd mind.)
Small film, huge heart.
For the record, the Adrienne Shelly Foundation is a very good cause.
I thought I was going to have to start scratching my eyes out during this movie to make the time pass. There were no "up's and down's" in this flick. It was completely monotone. I could have watched the first 5 minutes of this movie, then left and come back for the last 3 minutes and not missed a thing. So boring. It reminded me of a low budget soap opera. The acting was okay. But the storyline really didn't go anywhere. I felt ripped off seeing this movie at the theater. It's definitely one I could have waited for to come out on TELEVISION. I saw that it received 8 out of 10 stars and that's why I went to see it. I'm not quite sure what everyone enjoyed about this flick unless it was their great popcorn or they received free tickets to the flick.
I can't believe this movie is so highly rated. All I can see is a badly written, badly acted mess. It tries to be heartfelt and bittersweet but it ends up just being creepy.
The main character is a miserable, angry woman who is being abused and slapped around by her evil, dim-witted husband. She plots her escape while having an affair with a married doctor. To make everything worse, she's pregnant but does not want the baby.
The writer/director wants to make a light, sweet comedy out of this grim stuff. It does not work at all. It's as if someone took the script of "Medea" and tried to make a rom-com.
Nathan Fillion is actually quite good. The rest is best forgotten.
The high rating @IMDB made me watch that movie - and I am *very* disappointed. It is shallow, plain and predictable! While one must assume that this was intended to be that way, the movie still turned the corner towards "cheesy" way too hard. Really... waaaaaayyyy too hard. Actually, my brain felt violated and offended.
However, there are two person I enjoyed somehow: Old Joe (Andy Griffith) and Shelly herself (as "Dawn", especially when she confessed about her new boyfriend). "Earl" was another character more interesting (I like Jeremy Sisto).
Résumé : maybe one should be a woman to enjoy that movie?
The story line in this movie was nothing more than a string of infidelities glorified. The movie lacked a substantial plot and ended abruptly giving no real closure to the story at all. I continued watching hoping that there would be at least some redeeming value to the adulterous characters only to be sorely disappointed. In fact, it was blatantly obvious that the moral of the story is that infidelity will help free you of all pain in your life. How absurd. I would advise anyone who is even considering wasting their time with this movie to not do it. I have relinquished two hours of my life that I will never be able to get back. It may have been the absolute worst movie I have ever seen in my entire life. No exaggeration.
This film is a bloated, plot less wad of pro-life propaganda spewed from the buttocks of the Christian Coalition warhorse. I kid you not, this film is one of the most ridiculous steaming piles of poo I have ever seen. I stuck with it because of Nathan Fillion, whom I loved in Firefly. I thought something interesting might happen because he was in it. I was totally wrong.
I can't figure out how anyone could give this creeping ick a good review. NOTHING HAPPENS in this film. NOTHING. It shambles like a zombie for two painful hours until this woman squirts out a baby five minutes before the end. Suddenly, she grows a spine and dumps her horrific husband; grows some morals and ends her affair; and as luck would have it becomes independent. Oh, and did I mention that if you're nice to rich old men, they'll give you money? Just because you can make a good pie. Mark my words, ladies. If you can cook, a man will look after you.
While some of the dialog is funny and the characters amusing, the messages and themes of the story are appalling.
The writer-director, Adrienne Shelly, was murdered just before the film was finished. I can't help but think all the hoo-ha and awards are pity awards. This bag of junk should never have made it into the can. It's a pity because there was a lot of true talent involved. The actors are not one iota at fault for the lack of direction and plot.
Oh, and most of the pies looked and sounded disgusting. I don't know how that's possible, but they managed it.
The film had everything going for it except writing talent. Actors were fine (especially Andy Griffith), camera was in focus, sets were marvelous. But it was a grand "so what?" at the end. Mom has baby, ditches controlling husband, gets a big fat legacy, ends her dead-end affair, and lives happily ever after. Sort of an afterschool special for the WTV set. I did love the pie pieces throughout the film, but the characters were waaayyy too stereotypical. The very real, claustrophobic, relationship of the main character was just dropped at the end with no unpleasant traces to show for it all as if the filmmaker ran out of time and was tired of the story. Not recommended...
I just could not get behind this movie. I think it's a good example of why the writer does not always make the best choice as director of their own work. Someone removed from the writing process could have given this movie the heart that it needed. I feel that, as is, it takes its audience too much for granted. I'm not going to love Jenna just because she's the main character, and played by the (physically) adorable Keri Russell (whose acting chops leave much to be desired -- the caliber of her performance was on par with that of a high school play). I did not find much to like about Jenna -- she was just a mopey, husband-hating, victim of an unwanted pregnancy; there was no charisma, no like-ability. Then we met her husband (Jeremy Sisto did a great job playing this role), who I actually did feel empathy for -- he was such a sad figure, wanting so desperately for his wife to show him some love. Of course, he was also pretty terrible to her, but we didn't see that until later, after my low opinion of Jenna had already formed. This was the movie's biggest mistake and number one for reasons why I was never able to connect emotionally to Jenna or her story.
While I hesitate to be a party-pooper, I must call a spade a spade and say that (IMHO) this film would probably NOT have gained general release had it not been for the tragic circumstances of the writer/director's demise.
The acting is fine, 'tho a bit amateurish, the editing is crisp, and the cinematography is acceptable. The major faults lie in the story and direction. There's hardly any substance here. It's doesn't work as comedy - not even light-grey (certainly not "dark") comedy... characters are poorly developed (except for what other chrs have to say about them -- sure, Earl is a jerk, but not all that bad a jerk, and - for that matter, so is the sexually exploitative and wholly unethical Dr. P, and Becky and Dawn tell us that Joe is insufferable and Cal a mean-spirited slave-driver). The only chr I could see with any clarity was Ogie (sp?), and that's because there wasn't much there to begin with. No one's motives were any more than hearsay by other chrs.
Was this a morality tale? A comedy? A spoof? (Of what?) A love story? (certainly not! How could one see the frantic necking and sex between Dr. P and Jenna as being in any way serious?) It could be called a "chick flick," but only if the definition of chick-flick insists that every male chr be a self-interested, sex-seeking arschloch. Were the chrs stereotypes? Clichés? WHAT WAS THE POINT?
To be sure, this was an earnest effort at film-making/storytelling, but it falls far short of just about everything except "cute."
Have you ever noticed how, if a review praises a movie, any movie, the, "helpful", votes pile up? If a review is critical in any way, forget your percentages. It will be, "3 helpful out of 1209 total", especially if you dare go against a popular trend, one that should have died long ago, that of hating men. This was one of the most enabling movies ever made. Sure, if a wife finds herself married to that brute, she should do whatever it takes to get out of the marriage. The Doctor was, however, just as abusive, dismissive, selfish and manipulative, not helping her, but in a different way, being maybe worse, since appearing to be what she wanted in a man. The harm in this movie rests in the fact that, in general, everyone feels, at one time or another, picked on, under-appreciated and taken advantage of by others. If a woman is sensitized , and looking for sources, other than herself, sensitized to look for it in signs in her husband, then he takes the brunt of the hate which is in most cases conjured up in the minds of everyone, occasionally, man or women. The net result of the mother and daughter walking off alone, being perfectly happy to be without a man, now that, my friends, is misleading and completely detrimental to those women who might otherwise try to work things out with their real-life husbands. Not with husbands like he was in the movie, but with the average husband who only occasionally is a jerk and, I might add, not too many more times than the average wife is to her husband, in real life. Man-hating movies get a pass by the general public. During the feminist movement, men were, "put in their place," regularly and some of that actually needed to occur. It has gone too far, past being equal, rebounding now to hating men and leading many women to trying to live without them, a really, really stupid outcome of the entire feminist movement. You would think there were no worthy men out there, if you listen to these movies, (and another of my favorite worst movies called, "This Boy's Life.") Very few men are misogynists. Most men are well worth living with. Women are NOT better off without them altogether. What The Waitress does is take a case, where dumping the jerk IS more than appropriate, and causes lingering anticipatory angst in a woman's mind, seeing similar things in the men she lives around, stretching now to find them, when, in fact, those things looked for so hard are not even close to really being part of what the men around those women will do or are being, in degree nor goal, even being capable of mimicking. Women and men, both, tend to blame the wrong person, the easy one to blame, the man, in this movie, when it is many times their own sadness they cannot deal with. Are women really this helpless in general? These kinds of victim movies are an indictment of the powerlessness of women, a lack of power that most men do not see or perceive. Most men would never come close to treating their wife in that manner, yet he might just inordinately get his head bit off if he even approaches what might look like the impending doom of emerging expected bad behavior, as was truly seen by the husband in the movie. "Running away." as she said many times, will be too often a result for many women after seeing that movie, when that is the stupidest thing they could do, not warranted and not beneficial, thinking life is better without men altogether. The three girls as waitresses were three of the biggest losers imaginable. You are telling me that fact was entirely the fault of the men around them? The only acceptable boyfriend was the sister-like wimp in which one of them saw little enough of a threat that he was OK! That's the kind of a man women want? The only "acceptable" man, now, can't be one? Some reviewers I read thought this was just a great comedy. Folks, if you have a clue, if you discern anything about anything, you must know there is not a single funny thing in or about this movie.
Another example of a pretentious indie film person forgetting all about character complexities, secondary and tertiary stories, and overall preoccupation into making a "heartwarming", "redeeming" movie, that the filmmaker hadn't got much farther than pure idealism. The Southerners are mightily stereotyped; women "discover" themselves through trashy enterprises such as backtalkin', simpleton behavior, obsession with unhealthy food, fightin' and cheatin' and especially the undercurrent notion that women are only happy when they have a baby. Keri Russell is very wooden in her character, and handles her singular inner conflict (the characters are very sophomoric and plain) with a blank stare or a pasted smile.
I'm fairly surprised at the relatively hight ratings of this movie. I came away feeling cheated, primarily because the script created such cardboard characters.
Jenna is a waitress with a genius for pie recipes in a Southern town that should have been named Misogynyville. All the waitresses in the diner where Jenna works commiserate in a support network of lowered expectations concerning the male sex. Every man is either goofy, grumpy or just plain obnoxious, as in the case of Jenna's husband, Earl. Just how bright and charming Jenna happened to marry a Neanderthal like Earl is never fully explained, except for a reference to the fact that he "changed" after he married her. This would imply that Earl was clever enough to hide his true nature during courtship, which I truly doubt.
Jenna becomes pregnant after an ill-advised bout of drunken lovemaking with Earl, which sidetracks her plans of becoming independent. She finds that her doctor has semi-retired, and a new, attractive (albeit nervous) doctor is taking over her practice. He is a nice man, therefore from out of town. Wonder what happens next? Anyway the plot twists which are not predictable are baffling, as characters exhibit behavior that serves the plot but not their persona. The principle actors give nice performances, and there is a decent bit from Andy Griffith at the town's gruff but lovable old man, but not enough to save a script that needed some re-writes.
I don't know the background of the writer, director, etc., but if they were man-hating lesbians, this movie would be the logical result. OK, Earl the husband is slime, fine. The doctor is slime, but in a slightly more nuanced way--it takes Keri Russell a little longer to figure that out, and of course discard him like a used tissue without a trace of regret or feeling. The goofy boyfriend of the other waitress is slime--a jerk, whose only quality is persistence. The doctors that Keri interviews in her search for a doctor--all male--are slime for a variety of reasons. The chef at the restaurant is slime--cheating on his wife for no good reason and just being a miserable human being. The Andy Griffith character is allowed a good moment or two, but Keri is the only one who can stand him.
To sum up, there is not one male character in the movie worthy of respect, or even a neutral feeling. The women on the other hand are all sisters-under-the-skin and reluctant to hurt each other, just happy-go-lucky gals out for a good time.
They key scene is at the end, where Keri has her baby (a girl, of course), and realizes that she doesn't need men at all! What a great lesson for women everywhere. Blah.
I love adrienne shelley as an actress (trust) but this film was a cheesy, pointless flick. The comedy was really really awful, the story was predictable and the ending was telegraphed from miles away. It was so saccharine sweet it made me sick to my stomach. I was really hoping for more, considering her early collaboration with Hartley, but it was pretty junky. Every scene was obvious and trite. I can't believe how many people rated it highly here... it's stunning. Shocking.
Really sucks that she died and all, but I won't give this a good rating just because she kicked the bucket.
The cinematography was great, though. Too bad the story was blaaand.
It's difficult to say anything bad about a motion picture after the brutal murder of its director. What can you say about a picture where the most appealing thing about it is a wonderful selection of pies. The actors do their best struggling to bring meaning into a script that falls flat in its attempt to reflect true life with a meandering story that has you laboriously counting the minutes after a promising first half hour. The big question that comes to mind is how can an attractive women have such a jerk as a husband-be passive about it, and could a doctor really fall for a bloated pregnant mental case of a woman-especially after it's revealed that he has a loving together wife of his own? All the main characters except Andy Griffith are completely annoying and unworthy of any entertainment value. It's basically a chick flick gone bad and a total waste of talent and time. If you wish to feel pain watching painful lives you might like it. Others beware.