In The Weeds Michael Bauch

If you ever hoped to work in the cultural sphere and waited for your big break, chances are you've been forced to wear a phoney smile and a tacky vest in the service of paying the rent. In the Weeds is dedicated to such selfless hospitality employees, but it unfortunately comes off less like the people than the vests. The Altman-esque scrum involves several table jockeys at a New York restaurant, each with their own cliché story. Chiefly there are the wannabe playwright (Joshua Leonard), whose two-timing girlfriend wants him back, and the 30-ish lifer (Molly Ringwald) denying that this is her final destination, but there is also an assortment of failed actors, smug misogynists, abusive cooks and harried managers telling you the familiar service industry story. But maybe that story's too familiar. Michael Bauch's film reads like the work of an aspiring writer without a frame of reference following the old "write what you know" adage, and while he is of course cruelly accurate in rendering the milieu, the people who populate it are pure Screenwriting 101. Everybody has one character trait they flog mercilessly and sentimentally, and the cast is largely powerless to do anything with them; it resembles nothing so much as Friends' Central Perk, only here people get to say "fuck." Only Eric Bogosian manages to convince as the resto's authoritarian owner, and his genuine menace makes a stark contrast to the flimsy "believe in yourself" sentiment of the rest of the production. Had he seized on the economics of the industry (or given the illegal alien busboys more than a cursory presence), this might have had a purpose, but mostly it's just one more tired "independent" picture made well after the term lost its meaning. (Miramax)