El Bicho's Hive

A Collection of Reviews Covering the Worlds of Art and Entertainment alongside other Snobbish Ramblings.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Waitress is such a terrible creation I wanted to send it back to the kitchen. The characters are one-dimensional and poorly realized, the story is trite and clichéd, and the editing suffers from a sluggish pace and unnecessary moments. Except for the fact that going to a screening allows you to spend time in an air-conditioned room on a hot day, there is no reason to waste your time on it.

The film tells the story of Jenna (Keri Russell), an unhappily married woman in a generic Southern town at an unspecified time. She finds herself pregnant with a baby she doesn’t want from a husband she doesn’t like. The depiction of the abusive relationship is close to being insulting to those who have suffered through it. Yes, he says cruel things, is controlling, and somewhat physical with her, but there’s no exploration as to why she stays or who he is. These relationships are much more complex than this. The husband (Jeremy Sisto) comes off like such a Neanderthal that his lack of any redeemable qualities makes you question why Jenna got together with him in the first place.

That is until Jenna begins an affair with her new obstetrician, showing how very impetuous and foolhardy she is. Dr. Pomatter is married, but no time is spent examining his motivations, either. The film wants you to think this is a great love affair, but neither participant is very likeable or admirable. The relationship begins as solely physical. They do have a tender scene at her house, but it was tense because the husband could have appeared.

Jenna not being too bright is driven home a number of times, including her hiding money all over the house to save up enough to runaway, but of course, her husband finds it. Why she doesn’t just up and leave or ask her friends for help is never explored due to the scriptwriter’s laziness. The characters don’t deal with obvious questions so the plot can get to a predetermined conclusion.

What Jenna does have going for her is she is the greatest pie maker. There is a contest where she could win $25,000, but her husband nixes that idea. While I understand him not letting her go alone, the idea of going with her and collecting the winnings never occurs to him, which is unbelievable since they could use the money.

Most of the film is set in the diner Jenna works at. Unfortunately, it was very reminiscent of the show Alice with its gruff cook and two waitresses, one sassy and one dingy. Andy Griffith played Joe, the diner’s owner. He starts off crotchety, but really has a heart of gold. He had some of the funnier lines in the film, but didn’t have enough to do to make his character memorable.

The film’s conclusion is disappointing because of its heavy-handed predictability. Once Jenna’s baby is born, she has great revelations about her life and everything magically works out. Waitress serves up a sappy and contrived story to make the viewer feel good, but comes up empty due to its weak script.

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At 8:26 AM , Anonymous Joy Kennelly said...

I have to say your blog is aptly titled and subtitled.

I totally disagree with your estimation of the film, Waitress, and hope others won't be swayed to stay away by your obviously embittered take on a very sweet, meandering film.

I guess you have to be a certain mood to enjoy the tale, but it is cute and although as you say, predictable, it's very poignant with a sweet message.

Perhaps you should stick to reviewing films like Spiderman 3 and other blockbusters since you obviously missed the nuances of this one.

From one film snob to another,


At 12:29 PM , Blogger El Bicho said...

Joy, thanks for your comment; however, I call into question your referring to yourself as a film snob if you enjoyed Waitress.

You are entitled to disagree with my opinion, but you didn't point out anything I was wrong about regarding its many flaws. What mood do you have to be in to enjoy a film with a poorly constructed script?

Perhaps you should stick to Lifetime movies if you have somehow convinced yourself this film is filled with nuance.

At 6:44 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Bicho, you're comments are right on, good for you for not being taken in. I forced myself to think I liked the movie only because I knew about the terrible fate of the director, but the more I thought about it after I saw it, the worse it seemed. Lifetime movie would about sum it up. Shallow, unfair to men, ridiculous plot, bad message (bad marriage & pregnant? Don't even consider an abortion, just have a fling with a married man and have the baby, everything will magically work out once the instant the baby is born. Money will appear, you'll love the baby you've considered a "parasite" for nine months, and you'll be able to easily dump your married lover.) Question: are there really pie contests that pay off 25K? And if so, wouldn't that have been enough to save her without the predictable gift from the the old godger who conveniently dies so she doesn't owe him --or even have to thank him? Yuck. This is like a too-sweet pie: you happily gobble it down but later you feel sick. I wonder if it makes her family feel better to see the good reviews. I hope so. This movie won't stand the test of time.


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