Waiting

December 8th, 2005 Film, Film Reviews, Xpress

Written & Directed by Rob McKittrick

Starring Ryan Reynolds, Justin Long, Anna Faris, Luis Guzman, Chi McBride

How much you like Waiting will depend entirely on who you are. If you think Woody Allen, the Coen Brothers and Jim Jarmusch are the lyric heights of comedy, you’d best steer well clear.

If you think Porky’s, American Pie and their progeny that are repackaged for every new generation of teenagers every 10 years are the epitome of screen laughs, you’ll love it.

If you’re somewhere in between, you’ll get some chuckles but little else. And they’re not the sort of chuckles that are induced by clever humour. This is the sort of stuff that makes us look when we drive past fatal car crashes. Writer/director McKittrick rams the jokes down your throat like medicine you don’t want to take, and many of them will make you just as sick.

There’s barely any story except for a series of vignettes designed to show you the wacky and juvenile adventures in the day of a life of one of those themed restaurants that were huge in the late 90s and are still hanging on today.

We’re introduced to this never-ending exposition with Mitch as our stand-in, the kid who starts at Shenanigans and is taken under the wing of Monty (Reynolds), getting his baptism of fire into the things the freaky staff do to pass the time. They include trying to shag each other constantly, doing the grossest things with food from customers who give them a hard time (yes, it’s what you think), and playing an ongoing game where you have to trick the other staff into looking at your genitalia.

There’s one amazing thing about Waiting; just how many good and promising actors ended up in it. The only explanation is that it was scripted as a totally different movie when the stars all signed on, and the studio decided they had a gap in their teen movie schedule so they hired a hack to sex and gross it up.

Ran Reynolds isn’t Academy Award material, but even in the disappointing Blade: Trinity he had a fairly strong presence. Here he’s reduced to a thousand fast talking, lovable sloth cliches we know from a thousand other teen movies. Chi McBride has been the go-to guy for solid supporting roles since Laurence Fishburne vehicle Hoodlum.

And Luis Guzman, a regular of everyone from P T Anderson to Steven Soderbergh, has shown incredible range — both dramatic and comic — in his career. To star in a T&A comedy is way beneath him.

Don’t expect to be too challenged mentally, don’t expect anything you haven’t seen before. Most of us laugh at the kind of forceful outbursts of verbal and visual profanity Waiting specialises in, but there’s not much more to get out of it.


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