Last weekend, the wife and I got to go to the movies for the first time in ever so long. There's usually some negotiation involved, but we honed in on our choice straight off.
I had intended to review this movie right away before I was influenced by other assessments, but of course that didn't happened. What I've discovered in a number of reviews of this film is the overuse of the q word. Rotten Tomatoes, which gave it a 90% positive rating, notes the consensus is that it's "sweet, smart and quirky". Waitress is the story of a woman named Jenna (played by Keri Russell), who's pregnant - that's established very early in the film, so that's hardly a spoiler - and in a bad marriage. Her day-to-day salvation is making pies, delicious-looking pies, with names that describe her feelings at the moment, such as Baby Screaming Its Head Off in the Middle of the Night and Ruining My Life Pie. Jenna has two co-workers, Dawn (Adrienne Shelly) and Becky (Cheryl Hines), who are friends, even when each make choices that the others aren't crazy about. Jenna finds solace, for a time, in meeting with the new ob/gyn in town, Dr. Pomatter (Nathan Fillion). But ultimately, it's about Jenna trying to figure it all out for herself.
I don't want to say too much more about the plot, but I will make these observations: Andy Griffith as the crusty diner owner Joe is wonderful. It's unfortunate that Jenna's chauvinist husband is named Earl (Jeremy Sisto), because it reminded me of that Dixie Chicks song and video, Goodbye Earl. This Earl turns out to be more nuanced than the one played by Dennis Franz. This is a foodie movie in the tradition of Chocolat or Big Night. There is a one pie-making scene that is VERY sensuous. The music, mostly alt-country, I guess, and at least one tune co-written by director Adrienne Shelly, was great. One song choice I thought was a little odd, though I gave it a pass when I realized it was performed by the group Cake, another food group. Some of the reviews claim that there is an "inconsistency of tone" in this movie. I didn't feel it. I thought it was just how life is. I really liked the waitresses and their bonds, but Cheryl Hines as Becky reminded me just a little of Polly Holliday as Flo in the TV show Alice, also about three waitresses.
All in all, I really liked this movie. But I had a sense of sadness during the credits, not by what was on the screen, but over the fact that the director Shelly would not be making another warm and touching film, as she was murdered last year.
I should mention, finally, that Keri Russell as Jenna is wonderful in this film. I'd never seen her in Felicity, before or after the infamous haircut, but there are few (if any) scenes she's not in, and she's always credible and interesting. ROG