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Stars: Keri Russell, Adrienne Shelly, Nathan Fillion, Cheryl Hines, Jeremy Sisto, Lew Temple, Eddie Jemison, and Andy Griffith
Director/Scriptwriter: Adrienne Shelly
Composer: Andrew Hollander
Running Time: 106 minutes
Rating: no rating but could be PG 13
If the name of Adrienne Shelly sounds familiar, she is the actress/writer/director who was murdered in her office in the fall of 2006. A construction worker now awaits trial. Shelly is one of the stars of Waitress, playing Dawn, a rather shy girl who doesn’t trust men. Waitress is a fair commentary on the relationships between men and woman and it is unfortunate that Adrienne Shelly won’t be here to reap the rewards of her work.
Keri Russell (television’s “Felicity”) plays Jenna, a small town waitress who is married to the scruffy, abusive, Earl (a creepy Jeremy Sisto.) Jenna works in a diner with Becky (Cheryl Hines) who is married to an older man with dementia, Dawn, and Cal, the loudmouth owner (Lew Temple.) One of their regular customers is Old Joe, played with glee by Andy Griffith. Nathan Fillion (“Serenity”) is the new town doctor. As the story unfolds, we see that Earl changed dramatically after marriage and has become a drinking, jealous, controlling man. He toys with Jenna like a cat with a mouse. Jenna’s talent is in making pies---creative pies with creative names. Chocolate is the base of many of the pie mixtures and the audience will gain five pounds just by buying a ticket. Eventually, Jenna becomes pregnant and goes to the new doctor (Fillion) for care. Jenna is definitely not pleased with the pregnancy as this will forever tie her to Earl. How did it happen? Well, Earl got her drunk one night and this results in “The Pregnant Self Pity Pie.” She gets more than care at the doctor’s office, though, as the doc falls in love with her and now what to do? There is jealous Earl, the doctor’s wife and the nosey waitresses at the diner to elude.
The script sparkles with wit and humor. Keri Russell, with her expressive face, does the part of Jenna quite well. It is fear that keeps her in the marriage with loathsome Earl, but hope keeps her going in her job and the attentions of the new doctor. The ensemble cast works so well together. You cheer for Dawn when she decides to go on a date, you can’t wait for the next pie to be created and named and you wonder why your doctor doesn’t look like Nathan Fillion. Each of the characters has their moment to shine and you get to know them. Here is Fillion as a young doctor filling in for a doctor about to retire, Cal the gruff diner owner/cook with a heart of gold, Dawn’s new friend, Ogie (Eddie Jemison) who writes spontaneous poetry and even Earl, who is sliding into life with a beer can. If Jenna were to create a pie about this clever film, it would be coconut crème topped with meringue and slivered chocolate.
Copyright 2007 Marie Asner