Published Oct 01, 2005To the untrained eye, Rob McKittrick's directorial debut might seem like American Pie or Van Wilder set in a steakhouse, but deep down there is much more to this provocative comedy than expected. Waiting... is a spot-on reflection of life in the restaurant industry that any past or present waiter, host(ess), busboy or cook can relate to, cringe at, shake their head knowingly and laugh hysterically.
Set in Shenaniganz (a T.G.I. Fridays- or Kelsey's-style bar and grill), the film has two principal plots: what goes down in the eatery and what should Dean (Jeepers Creepers' Justin Long) do when he's offered the Assistant Manager position? The former is where the laughs originate via Monty's (Ryan Reynolds) non-stop cavalcade of jokes and pranks that involve training/scaring the newbie (a "where have you been?" performance by Freaks and Geeks' John Francis Daley) and seducing the underage hostess.
Also, there's the general idea to touch on the severe problems of each unique employee (a guy who can't urinate in a public bathroom, a burnt out waitress who is about to unleash her fury on an unsuspecting customer, the trainee who can't get a word in edgewise, etc.). But it's the "Assistant Manager" plot that balances out the film and gives you something to care about while creating a dilemma that involves some fine examples of just how mighty a manager thinks he can be (thanks to a great performance by David Koechner).
But what's the finest component of the film are the lives of the staff and their interactions with each other and the customers. There's the announcement of "the first biatch of the day" (whose steak and potatoes gets the deluxe treatment), the agonising and clichéd endurance of the staff training video, the non-stop penis pranks (which you need to see to truly grasp), the assertive birthday singers and, best of all, the "late night asshole" who enters minutes before closing time.
If you've been there and done that, you'll relate to Waiting... with pleasant nostalgia, but even those who've never bussed a table or taken an order will enjoy McKittrick's exposé on what really down when you order your steak medium rare with a side of mashed potatoes and extra gravy. (Maple)