Rated PG-13; Directed by Adrienne Shelly; Starring Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion, Andy Griffith, Cheryl Hines, Adrienne Shelly, Jeremy Sisto
There is a movie genre that can best be described as independent chick flick. Usually it’s a story of a woman discovering strength and newfound appreciation of who she is. Sure the studios also toss these movies out, but it’s usually the independent films that at least provide something a bit more quirky and interesting. Waitress is one of those more interesting movies. That it is also a charming movie makes it even better even if it does give you cravings for pie.
Jenna (Keri Russell), in a miserable marriage and discovering that she is pregnant, has one thing going for her: she makes some great pies at the diner she works at. With her dream to leave Earl (Jeremy Sisto) — her mean and needy husband — and head off to win a national pie-making contest spoiled by the news that she is now an expectant mother, Jenna is understandably not thrilled with her future baby. In fact, she’s so not thrilled that she doesn’t want Dr. Pomatter (Nathan Fillion) to congratulate her (he offers an un-congratulations instead). New to town, Dr. Pomatter finds Jenna’s pies a taste of heaven and he’s finding Jenna attractive also.
Director Adrienne Shelly creates funny characters that seem grounded in reality. There’s Jenna who lives out her thoughts in the creating of pies; Dr. Pomatter, awkward and sweet; friends and co-workers Becky (Cheryl Hines) and Dawn (Adrienne Shelly) who have their own set of problems; and the crotchety owner of the diner who is a pain to wait on, played wonderfully by Andy Griffith. Even Earl, the villain of the film, seems more than a stock stereotypical bully. The cast makes the most of their roles and Keri Russell shines as Jenna, creating a sympathetic character that you can cheer on.
The script, also written by Shelly, meanders yet surprises. Some expected plot points never occur and even when you guess what’s going to happen you still have fun getting there. The film is gorgeous, full of bright colors and a warm tone. Oh, and the pies – the pies are works of art (you’ll have a craving for some by the time the film is over).
It’s a sweet and likeable film and Adrienne Shelly’s last, as she was killed before the movie was released. That’s such a shame because after watching Waitress I would love to have seen what Shelly would have done next.
Waitress offers a charming time for a viewer. Yes, it’s a chick flick, but one with a quirky sense of humor. Watching Jenna learn to value herself isn’t a hardship, plus there are all those pies. Really, buy some pie before watching the DVD. You won’t regret it.