Got served

Waiting… is Clerks for chain restaurant employees

WAITING FOR NOTHING<br>Justin Long (left) and Ryan Reynolds put up with everything for nothing in return as employees at chain restaurant Shenanigans.

Justin Long (left) and Ryan Reynolds put up with everything for nothing in return as employees at chain restaurant Shenanigans.

Waiting… Starring Ryan Reynolds, David Koechner and Luis Guzmán. Directed by Rob McKittrick. Rated R.
Rated 3.0

Ain’t class resentment grand? For those folks fortunate enough not to have been forced by circumstance to waste part of their early adulthood toiling away at one of those middle-scale chain eateries that fancy themselves America’s Hometown Restaurant, Waiting… can serve as the culinary equivalent of one of those Safety Films from the ‘60s.

First lesson: “Don’t fuck with the people that handle your food.”

Anyone who has ever put in their time at these ambition-sucking establishments know better than to give a server grief, or even worse … send the food back to the kitchen. That’s akin to calling a cop a Nazi or walking into the barber at closing time and demanding a trim.

Your sorry ass is gonna get what it deserves.

By no means could Waiting… be called well-crafted cinema; there is no plot to get in the way and the characters are a random soufflé of stereotypes. But these stereotypes are easily recognizable archetypes within the service industry and it is obvious that writer/director Rob McKittrick has done duty in that particular battlefield. While the comedy is an exercise in absurdity, the situations have a familiar echo and you can actually smell the stale grease in the vérité kitchen. He is also aided immensely by a cast of familiar faces that is obviously having fun with the material (and for a change, Ryan Reynolds manages to keep his shirt on throughout, although at one point the bastard stops a young hottie from peeling hers off.)

Waiting… is a day-in-the-life of Shenanigan’s, one of those chain food factories such as TGI Friday’s or Applebee’s that serve as a holding pattern for those who are biding their time between high school and life. Unless they are sucked into the vacuum of management, as is the dilemma for the character that roughly serves as a protagonist here. Meanwhile, the staff entertains itself in lowbrow pursuits to alleviate the drudgery and diffuse the humiliations inflicted on them by middle management and patrons venting their own dead-end middle class frustrations on the people who seemingly have to stand there and take it.

Ever notice how much hollandaise looks like phlegm?

The big surprise here is that it has taken so long for a comedy such as this to hit the screens, especially after the success of Kevin Smith’s Clerks, which Waiting… was obviously inspired by. While the flick doesn’t aspire to overtly satirical levels, it does deliver with a consistently amusing entrée of bad taste scenarios. Payback is the sweetest dish, and Waiting… serves that up in heaping platefuls.

And make sure to hang through the end credits.