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Monday, 29 November 1999 18:00
Local opening date: 5/11/2007
Reviewed by Diane Carson
There's a saying that less is more, and the film Waitress proves the point. Shot on a miniscule budget with limited locations and a modest technical crew, Waitress succeeds in presenting fresh, likable characters in a simple, funny, kind-hearted story.

Just when Waitress skirts with sitcom territory, the writing and events rescue it from any such cloying fare. The relief adds to the buoyant appeal of the film, one infused with warmth toward the characters and belief in friendship and finding a measure of happiness through self confidence.

The title waitress Jenna works at Old Joe's Pie Diner and has a knack for creating delicious, unusual pies. Jenna names them after her moods and situation, the most relevant being Pregnant-Miserable-Self Pitying-Loser Pie and Worst-Husband-in-the-World-Pie. Indeed Jenna dislikes her narcissistic, jealous, controlling husband Earl which makes her attraction to her Ob-Gyn, Dr. Pomatter, even more delicious and believable. Their romantic liaison is as offbeat as fellow waitress Becky's romance with dorky Ogie. As unusual is the diner that serves only pies, cantankerous boss Cal, and the owner Joe. He talks tough but is all marshmallow inside-and wise, played beautifully by Andy Griffith. Equal to the task of carrying the film is Keri Russell, a sweet and impetuous Jenna. Economical dialogue scenes reveal volumes in a few sentences and watching the numerous pies being made is a mouth-watering, clever way to punctuate developments.

On a truly tragic note, writer/director and actor as Jenna's waitress friend Dawn, Adrienne Shelly was murdered in her New York apartment three months before Waitress' premiere at Sundance. Her death is a huge loss to the independent film community and all who love films as inventive and delightful as Waitress. At Landmark's Plaza Frontenac cinema. 

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