tek's rating: ½

Waitress (PG-13)
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Keri Russell (who we always like) plays a waitress named Jenna Hunterson, who works in a pie diner. She makes amazing pies, which everyone loves, and these pies all have unsual names, which are representative of whatever's going on in her life at the time. We'll also see that she occasionally gets lost in thought, imagining recipes for new pies she'll invent; she seems to do this as a way of escaping her unpleasant reality. And eventually, we'll learn that her love of pie-making goes back to when she was a girl, and her mother would make pies with her, with similarly inventive names. But what makes her life so hard is the fact that she's stuck in a marriage to a man named Earl, who is an asshole, though he doesn't seem to have any awareness of this fact. Though he is apparently prone to occasional fits of depression... his feelings are easily hurt, though he clearly has no ability to realize he hurts Jenna's feelings far worse, nor that she's far more justified in her feelings than he is. There are moments I almost feel... the tiniest hint of something remotely resembling sympathy for him, but mostly I just hate him and feel terribly sorry for Jenna, and wish she'd leave him.

Meanwhile, she has a couple of friends, fellow waitresses at the diner, named Becky and Dawn. Becky's married to, like, an invalid. We never see him, but we do know she's not happy in her marriage. And Dawn (who is played by the film's writer/director, Adrienne Shelly) is worried that no one will ever love her, though eventually a guy named Ogie becomes immediately obsessed with her, but she doesn't like him. The film will show a little bit about things going on with Becky and Dawn's love lives, though mostly it's about Jenna. Early in the movie, she discovers she's pregnant, though she immediately resents the baby. She feels bad about that, and feels the baby deserves a better mother, but at the same time she feels it will screw up her dreams of eventually running away from Earl. Anyway, Jenna goes to see her doctor, but finds that the woman has gone into semi-retirement, and has been replaced by a newcomer to town, named Jim Pomatter (played by the always likable Nathan Fillion). At first Jenna's upset about this, but before too long they start an affair. (He's also married, and though his wife- who we only see once, briefly- is a much better spouse to him than Earl is to Jenna, he doesn't seem to be as happy with her as he is with Jenna.)

I don't really want to say any more about the plot, though I should mention that Andy Griffith plays Joe, the curmudgeonly owner of the diner where Jenna works. She's the only one who can stand him, because he's hard to deal with, but of course underneath he's a nice guy, and shares a certain degree of wisdom with Jenna. I maybe should also mention Cal, the guy who runs the diner and I think is like a cook or whatever. He's kind of hard to deal with himself, but his role in the movie is fairly minor. And like Joe, he may not be as bad as he seems. Anyway... for the most part I found the movie just sort of okay, though everyone in it did a decent job of acting, especially Russell. Her portrayal of Jenna is definitely the best thing about the movie... which did have a few moments that rose above the general okayness of the movie. My favorite scene was right after Jenna finally gives birth. There was a predictable element to it, but there was something more, which I really loved. And later... well, more good things happen, but I don't want to spoil anything. It's not a movie I feel the need to ever see again, and I'm not sure how memorable it will be to me, but it was definitely worth seeing once. And I'm sure there are those who'll appreciate it more than I did...


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