In the end, “Waiting” is yet another “Clerks” rehash, but alas, it’s a rehash that works. And why? Mainly it’s because it manages to cast the talents of folks who can actually handle comedy; Luis Guzman, Ryan Reynolds, Justin Long, Anna Faris, the list goes on. Suffice it to say, the cast is an all-star cavalcade of comedy actors, save for the likes of Andy Milonakis. “Waiting” is also supposedly a film that perfectly captures what it’s like to be a waiter or work in the restaurant industry, and goes behind the more disgusting facts of working in a restaurant, including the restlessness of its workers to keep from going insane. “Waiting” may not be a comedy classic, but for what it is, it made me laugh quite often.
A young trainee just signed on to the “Shenaniganz!” restaurant, one of the many themed family restaurants currently getting its ass kicked by “Denny’s,” and through Mitch (John Francis Daley of “Freaks and Geeks” royalty), we manage to experience a hall of fame of weirdos and mental cases, all of whom reside in the restaurant and serve our food. The film is very low key for what it entails, as it prefers to more often show us the ins and outs of putting on an act for customers and cooking, rather than focus on the individual characters. And when we actually get to them, McKittrick puts the cast’s talents on display. Ryan Reynolds almost steals the show as the wise ass Monty, along with Anna Faris who is slightly downplayed, but still hilarious, and folks like Dane Cook, David Koechner, Alanna Ubach, and Chi McBride all pull in laughs, respectively.
But once we get to the work place, and the hectic atmosphere that comes with the territory, “Waiting” thankfully comes to life, and draws many a laughs. There are so many memorable moments here, and the cast manages to handle the forced clever dialogue with finesse, all winding down with a hilarious finale that keeps it down, rather than attempting slapstick. “Waiting” may be a rehash, but it’s a fun rehash, just the same. Although I could have done with the Jay and Silent Bob rip-offs Nate and T-Dog who were clearly nothing but padding, and characters that were so one-dimensional they were practically cartoon characters.
There is no reason whatsoever for McKittrick to have included these two morons in the film other than hoping to garner a wider demographic. These characters not only take up space but bring the film to a screeching halt quite often, acting as obvious padding for a film that doesn’t really need it. I wanted to kill these two characters, and it helps the feelings when both actors completely crush any of the pre-established energy built by the other cast members. In the end it’s a lot less of a “Clerks” rehash, and more another “Barbershop” take, and it works because of the tight script, and great performances. Some jokes fall flat, and some characters are pure padding, but it made me laugh. Out loud, a lot, and wildly, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.