Waitress serves loves, laughs

Movies and Television
© 2007 Fox Searchlight Pictures

Waitress is a heartbreaking movie in many ways:

  • The story, a hard-luck nice girl married to a crappy guy, stuck in a shitty marriage.
  • The tragedy of writer-director Shelley.
  • The award nomination slights. Russell, Fillion and Shelley for the screenplay.

I love movies that have great moments, even if not the whole movie. This one does both, adding great moments the add up to a great movie, that while yes is funny, I’m not sure I’d give it the “romantic comedy” tag of death.

Waitress is about Jenna, deftly played by Keri “Felicity” Russell, a waitress who makes fantastic pies and hopes that it will be the means to her escape from her controlling (won’t let her have a car), manipulative (makes her tell him what he wants to hear), and brutal (takes her money, intimidates her with violence and poverty) shit of a husband. Jeremy Sisto gets that tough assignment.

Her discovery of an unwanted pregnancy leads her to the new doctor in town, quirky charmer played by Nathan “Capt. Mal Reynolds” Fillion (the cancelled too soon Firefly, Castle). It is not a spoiler to disclose that the two engage in a funny, sexy and emotional affair.

While some would never be able to look past the adultery, which I suppose is understandable, I can. Not sure the film exactly “celebrates” it as much as explains many of the reasons why. And of course it softens our distaste for the adulterers by giving them less-than-ideal spouses. Even the cook’s wife is given a mixed character, being horrible to him but nice to the waitresses.

The only spouse we know nothing about is Fillion’s, as we only meet her at the end (I found her too sweet and insipid, nevertheless). And of their relationship, we only know that Fillion has moved his life and practice to this small town for the sake of his wife’s career, a decent and generous act still rare in 2008.

The movie is all about Jenna, her creative pie baking and her life. We meet her friends-the other waitresses at the diner, her crap husband, and her regular customers, including Andy Griffith in an obvious but nice role. Russell does a great job with her part, as does Fillion in his role. Both are genuine and likable, and have terrific chemistry.

In catching Waitress on cable (now saved in my DVR) I regret not getting out to the theater to see it, as I had every intention to do. I have no issues with the cheesy Southern-ness of it; as someone from the South I’d say they almost got it right. My only other regret is more of a wistful longing, but as it’s almost too fanfic, so I am happy to take the movie as is.

Final Snark: a dream, soft and sweet as can only come from a warm oven and fresh baked pies, making me want the recipe book.

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