Waiting… (2005)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Waiting…</strong> (2005)

(On DVD, February 2011) There’s been a welcome eclipse for gross-out comedy since the turn of the century, and Waiting is enough to remind us that even a foul-mouthed slacker comedy can dispense with references to genitalia.  But since one of the first significant laughs of the film comes from the line “If you want to work here, in this restaurant, I really think that you need to ask yourself one simple question: How do you feel about frontal male nudity?” it’s not as if we haven’t been warned.  The nominal plot engine is how a slacker-with-prospects (played by Justin Long) comes to reconsider the time he has spent working at the local “Shenaniganz” chain restaurant outlet.  But the ensemble casts brings together a bunch of oddball characters all having their own fun.  Ryan Reynolds is the most compelling as a hilariously deviant waiter who’s seen everything: It’s a scum-ball character, but he plays it with a winning smile and the film weeks weaker during its third act when it has to spend time away from him: few other actors could have earned such sympathy with that role.  Luis Guzman is another highlight as a restaurant worker obsessed with his own kind of fun and games.  Chi McBride, Alanna Ubach and Vanessa Lengies also make an impression in smaller roles, but everyone has their role to play in making sure that this workplace comedy ends up clicking.  Never mind the inevitable spitting-in-food scene (whose best laugh comes from the relatively innocuous “We almost had to switch to the ten-second rule.”): there’s more fun to be had in the acerbic repartee between workers and the blank-faced realization that much of the served food in America is handled by people waiting for a better life.  The two-disc DVD seems ridiculously loaded with extra features given the triviality of the film itself, but they’re good for a few extra laughs.

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