Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Justin Long, Ana Farris, David Koechner and Luis Guzman
Run Time: 1 hr 34 mins.
Plot Synopsis: Dean is a 22 year old waiter at “Shenaniganz,” a restaurant with a colorful crew and an irreverent disdain for the customer. He is stuck in the point of his life which makes him crave more than a crappy job at a restaurant and a couple classes per semester. When he is offered the job of assistant manager he is forced to consider the potential benefits/disadvantages of accepting, beating himself up over the fact that his high school classmate recently graduated as an electrical engineer.
Waiting came out in 2005. At the time, yours truly was working at an Applebee’s restaurant. I had been working in kitchens at various restaurants for a little over 8 years. So when I heard a comedy was coming out involving a restaurant and it’s crew, my initial thought was “it’s about time!” I could not wait to see it. It starred one of my favorite comedic actors at the time, Ryan Reynolds. I loved his style of humor, shown prominently in Van Wilder. So I was first in line opening weekend. At the film was everything I thought it would be and more. Now, a couple of years later, I find a Blu ray edition of the film, Waiting Unrated and Raw. So I pick it up with the intention of giving all of you a review of the film, offering my “unique” insight into the world of theme restaurants.
On to the review. The restaurant that most of the movie is set in is called “Shenaniganz.” Think Applebee’s, TGI Fridays or Chili’s. All sorts of lame decorations all over the walls. Super cheery staff. Like that. Exactly like the restaurants I have worked in. The crew is great, one of the strengths of this movie is the quality comedic performances by all of the actors and actresses. Here are some of the key characters: They had Ryan Reynolds as the “coolest guy” in the restaurant. He is a server. There is the blond “loose girl.” She is also a server. Rounding out the servers is the old lady who has worked there WAY too long. She is very vulgar. Then you have the dishwasher; a wise older man whose wisdom can creep you out at times. The bus boys are two wannabe thug pot smokers. And the rest of the kitchen staff includes the kitchen elder (a guy who loves to play dirty games while cooking) the sarcastic a** hole cook, and the dumb new guy. The manager of the restaurant is the type of guy who is old and lame, but thinks he’s cool and should hang out with all the younger employees. Key characters for sure. The scary thing is, I have worked with a real person who corresponds with the characters in the film.
The movie basically chronicles a day in the restaurant as the crew tries to train the new server and pass the time in all kinds of disgusting ways. And it is full of laughs. The situations they are put in, the personal problems they experience are all hilarious. And it is so real. It seemed to me that whoever wrote this film has worked in a restaurant before. It certainly is an accurate depiction of the business. Sure, it’s a little overblown, but surprisingly not by much. The things I’ve seen in that business, you would be shocked. It was a really funny movie. The great thing about this film is, even if you have never worked in a restaurant before, there is plenty for you to enjoy. It is a funny movie regardless. But if you have worked in the business before, there is a whole new level to the film. Because some of you may have experienced these things before. But this is one of my all time favorite movies. Laugh out loud, pee your pants, can’t breathe funny. The movie is full of great characters played by talented comedic actors. There are some great cameo’s too. Look out for Dane Cook as a sarcastic, jerk in the kitchen. So you know, I could be compared to the character played by Cook. Except I can honestly say that I have never done anything disgusting to anybodies food. The movie also has a nice ending with a good message. The movie, while featuring the occasional sex joke, is not full of them. There are many different types of humor at work here, and there is something for everyone to enjoy. You will not be disappointed. Definitely worthy of your time. And the special features make this Blu ray worthy of your cash. BUY BUY BUY! Now, let’s move on to the things you all should know about the places some of you may enjoy eating in.
<Here Come the plot spoilers!>
I would like to take this opportunity to go into some of the hilarious aspects of the plot and tell you the dirty little secrets of the business. Are you ready? Here goes. I’m sure most people have had at least one experience where you go out to eat, and your food was prepared all wrong. It happens. And I’m sure some of those people have complained and sent that food back to the kitchen. This happens early on in the movie. A customer starts her order by saying “the last couple of times I came in, the food was terrible…” This happens more frequently than you may think. It almost certainly indicates the customer will complain about their food if it’s not perfect. In the business, there are many names for this type of character. None of them are nice. So the character of course complains about the food. So the server brings it back to the kitchen. It was put to a vote, “What do we do with this order?” It was decided, time to mess with the food. So disgusting things were done to the food. When it made it back to the table, everyone watched her take a bite of the new order. Let me tell you honestly, I have seen this many times before. In all my years of cooking, I’ve noticed this is a once a month incident. The line given to the trainee, which happens to be a motto that many cooks live by, is this… “Never f*ck with the people who handle your food.”
Another prime example is the game that every guy in the restaurant loves to play. It involves the guys trying to get other guys to look at their rear and or their “junk.” They came up with many different ways to play the “ball showing” game. There are different types of ways to show it, each with a different “reward” for the winner. It usually involves calling the loser of the game “gay” and then kicking them in the rear. Again, in all honesty, I have seen a different version of this game played before. In the same kitchen the food is cooked in. Sometimes, without washing hands. Scarry huh?
And the movie is filled with one liners and quick incidents that are both hilarious and frequent in real restaurants. From the “5 second rule” to the cooks yelling “I can’t wait to quit this job.” And when the manager states in a pre shift meeting, “Push the fish, it’s about to turn” you may have been shocked, but you shouldn’t be. Try to remember when you go out to eat that gross things happen in the restaurant business all the time. Look at your food carefully. As they say in the movie, “A little floor spice makes everything nice.” Be wary of the following “ingredients”, they may be put on/in your food: “FromUnda cheese” dandruff flakes, pubes and loogies. I really have seen it done. The horror of it. To this day, I will not eat in any restaurant chains I have worked in. Because I know what happens there. I’ve seen managers look the other way. I’ve seen steaks cooked in the microwave because the customer is being a b*tch and they are in a hurry.
Here’s the bottom line, ladies and gentlemen, is that this comedy is not as far fetched as it may originally seem.It It is my conclusion that Waiting was written by someone who spent a great deal of time working in the restaurant business. It is laugh out loud funny. A special type of comedy. Everything that occurs in the movie, everyone that works in “Shenaniganz,” all of the customers and the comments, it’s all real. It happens. Next time you go out to eat, be on the look out for the characters from the movie. Every restaurant has them. Every restaurant has a dirty cook, a perverted server, and a manager who thinks he is a lot cooler than he actually is. Everyone is willing to look the other way sometimes. Sometimes the work can be hard and frustrating. But all restaurant employees know how to have fun at their jobs. Just like in Waiting. So remember what I have told you here. The next time you go out to eat, be careful. Everyone deserves to know, so please… Tell your friends.