Waitress Adrienne Shelly

Waitress Adrienne Shelly
If only life were half as sweet as the pies populating Jenna’s mind and diner in Waitress. Luckily, for all the sour elements it explores, Adrienne Shelly’s final film is as sweet as they come. Resignation to a bland life is a theme common among the characters — all function through their dysfunctions on autopilot. Keri Russell turns in the most convincing performance of her career as Jenna, a knocked up waitress at a pie diner who has an incredible knack for creating mouth-gasmic pies and avoiding the groin of husband Earl. Needy and insecure to a frightening degree, Earl (played by Jeremy Sisto) is even jealous of his unborn child for fear that it’ll be more loved than he. Jenna dreams of winning a pie contest so she’ll have the money to finally escape the lout. When she begins seeing a new gynaecologist, Dr. Pomatter (an awkwardly charming Nathan Fillion), prior plans are derailed and a clumsy but sweet and torrid love affair erupts. The special features reveal Shelly’s crystal clear vision as a writer and director, demanding very specific timing and delivery of jokes, insisting on capturing the performance in the first couple takes to retain freshness and efficiency. A memorial to Shelly is touching and respectful, and a feature on the purpose of the pie focus, along with cast members’ favourite dishes and Shelly’s philosophy of baking, is funny and intriguing. A special interview with Keri Russel has too much film clip padding and the Fox Movie Channel special is lacklustre. Of the cast interviews, only Fillion has much of interest to say. Commentary with Russel and the film’s producer can be funny but is sparse. The inclusion of deleted scenes or a gag real would have been great from this talented cast. (Fox Searchlight)