Don’t miss writer-director Adrienne Shelly’s sweet, sassy comedy about the power of friendship, motherhood and second chances, starring the radiant Keri Russell who serves up “a hilarious and heartfelt performance” (Rolling Stone).
Jenna (Russell), a small-town waitress with big dreams, has an uncanny gift for baking out-of-this-world pies. Her secret ambition is to win a $25,000 contest, so she can leave her obnoxious husband, open her own pie shop and transform her life. A chance meeting with a handsome newcomer to town just might supply the right ingredients to help Jenna find true happiness.
“Waitress” is an uncomfortably funny, touching movie that examines how the choices we make shape the life we lead. Keri Russell plays Jenna, the small-town woman who has lived as she thought she ought to but is absolutely miserable doing it. The opening of the movie greets us with the confirmation of an unwanted pregnancy brought along by a drunken night with her horrible, needy husband and her fanciful escape by inventing a new pie – “Bad Baby Pie” – to deal with her emotions.
One of the greatest charms of the movie is the discomfited sincerity of all the characters and the situations they create. For example, Jenna’s bad marriage isn’t just because her husband is an insecure jerk, but also because she plays into his controlling ways to keep up the status quo. And just as life is messy and confusing, so are the relationships that develop in “Waitress”. Each one of the characters is attempting to be a good person, live the way they ought, yet find themselves missing the mark and finding their own way to better their lives. The greatest charm, however, is the fact that it takes a new life she initially didn’t want to revitalize Jenna’s will to really live.
While the Special Features offer the standard interviews with the cast and bits of behind the scenes, what stood out was the memorial to the film’s writer/director/co-star Adrienne Shelly. Tragically, she was murdered in late 2006 before this film – a beloved pet project – was accepted at Sundance in 2007. It was a sweet and moving memorial, repeatedly noting Shelly’s passion and strong vision for this film. Fortunately, Shelly left the world with a legacy of her own zeal for life and the importance of doing the right thing not only in this film, but in all her work.
Review by Marie Holzer