“Waiter, what’s this fly doing in my soup?” “Looks like the backstroke to me, sir.” That old saw is worthy of a chuckle at best, but it pales in comparison to some of the choice humor that writer/director Rob McKittrick delivers to patrons of Waiting, a raunchy restaurant comedy.
Set in a place called Shenaniganz — which could be Bennigans or TGIFridays or any other in the endless series of chain restaurants found on the corner of major intersections or in malls across the fruited plain — the film stars Ryan Reynolds, Anna Faris, Justin Long, Luis Guzman, Chi McBride and Andy Milonakis, among others as the crew of this restaurant, just waiting to serve you.
That is, as rookie server “Mitch” (John Francis Daley) learns on his first day from “Monty” (Reynolds), when the men of Shenaniganz aren’t too busy playing “the Game”, which you’ll just have to see the film to learn about. I won’t spoil that experience for you by attempting to describe this particular juvenile foible. Or if they aren’t too busy lusting after the still not quite legal hostess “Natasha” (Vanessa Lengies) or the equally gorgeous and apparently unavailable lesbian bartender “Tyla” (Emmanuelle Chriqui). The servers deal with a kitchen staff who have apparently been carefully trained to provide the worst attitudes and least sanitary food possible, at least from what we the audience are allowed to see. Everything looks fine to the patrons, although if they saw what we saw, they’d think twice before digging in. This is especially true for those patrons who were less than polite to the servers.
In the midst of all of this debauchery (and we get to see lots of that, both in the restaurant and at the crew’s parties after work) “Dean” (Justin Long) is wrestling with his own demons. He is attending community college and has been doing that and working at the restaurant for four years now. Meanwhile one of his classmates from high school has just graduated from college with a degree in engineering and is on the fast track to success, while Dean is on the slow track to nowhere. How he chooses to deal with this realization, especially when he is offered a promotion to assistant manager of the restaurant, is a nice subplot in the midst of the comedy.
McKittrick clearly knows his subject, having worked in the restaurant industry, but what fascinates me about his involvement with this film is his tireless marketing of it on the internet on his own. He has engaged in dialogues about the movie with users of the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com) on that site’s discussion forums about his film, and he certainly does not refrain from speaking his mind.
In a response to a post where someone accused Waiting of being a ripoff of another movie, here is part of McKittrick’s response: “In any case, rather than being an accusatory bag-o-douche, why don’t you reserve the final judgement for when you see the movie, rather than simply a trailer”. Now the ripoff accusation was inaccurate and downright rude, but should a director really engage in that kind of dialogue with potential ticket-buyers? In another discussion topic, where a poster says that actor Luis Guzman has said some very unfavorable things about McKittrick, McKittrick has said he will have a lot to say about Guzman after the movie is released. No surprise there, this is a director who is clearly never at a loss for words.
This is a very funny movie, with one exception. Andy Milonakis. Milonakis, who has his own show on MTV though I do not know why, is very similar to Gary Coleman in that he suffers from a thyroid condition. As a result, he looks much younger than his real age, and is short, with round, chubby cheeks just like Coleman. Milonakis also suffers from that disease known as “cannotactitis”. A rare condition, found only in movies or television where people somehow make it to the screen without the ability to act. By the way, if you have a better adjective to describe this condition, please feel free to email it to me, for use in future reviews.
Meanwhile, see Waiting. I plan to see it again. That’s the best review I can give any movie.