Comments Off on Waitress

2.5 Stars
This is a well-made and well-acted film, but ultimately one that I find unsatisfactory.

Jenna (Keri Russell) is a strikingly beautiful waitress with a fantastic talent for making pies. She is also miserable. She is trapped in a marriage with an abusive husband, and she has just discovered that she is pregnant. On the other hand her handsome new doctor seems to be falling in love with her. She believes adultery is wrong, but she is tempted to reach out to him anyway…

This is being marketed as a comedy, and there certainly are some funny lines, but fundamentally this is a very sad story and everything in it points to a very sad ending. Instead we get a happy ending, one that strikes me as totally facile and extremely improbable (not to mention possibly harmful to an impressionable segment of the audience.)

Everything depends on this. If you believe the ending you will probably like the film; if you don’t you won’t.

There are some fine performances here. Jeremy Sisto is particularly good as the repulsive husband. However the most enjoyable performance is by Andy Griffith as the irascible old owner of the diner. Unfortunately Griffith actually makes the character seem too charming and lovable, which serves to undermine the ending at yet another level.

I can’t very well discuss this film without mentioning the fate of Adrienne Shelly, the writer and director, who also plays the role of the mousy waitress Dawn. Shortly after completing the film she was senselessly murdered by a construction worker who was apparently upset that she had complained about the noise he was making the the apartment below hers.

Given this fact, I really wish that I could proclaim this film a masterpiece, but I just don’t think it is one. (I also suspect that some other reviewers have given in to this temptation.) At most this film shows that she had potential. Given more time, with a little more maturity and insight, she might have produced something great.