Cook’s ‘Waiting’ is a raunchy, yet riotous, restaurant romp

arbeta hemifrån seriöst By Jeff Swoboda “Waiting” is a movie custom-made for anyone who has ever worked in a restaurant. Written and directed by Rob McKittrick, a former chain-diner employee, the movie provides an accurate (if not over-the-top) picture of what working in a restaurant is really like. “It’s my hope that people who are waiting tables now, or have waited tables, will watch the movie and really feel like we named it,” McKittrick said about the tile in an interview with The News last week. “You know, the time before dinner rush when everyone is just sitting around, twiddling their thumbs, waiting for it to get busy and just hanging out; and then the dinner rush when it’s just totally crazy and everyone is just screaming at each other and it’s just a mad house; and then after the dinner rush when it’s calm again; and then over to somebody’s house or to another bar where everybody gets drunk and hangs out all night; and then the next day and repeat [the] process. I really wanted to hit the truisms, you know?” For those who have never worked in an eatery, laughs will still be had but the movie may seem less believable. For anybody who has worked in a restaurant for longer than six months, though, watching this movie will doubt-lessly remind you of countless nights slaving away for hours in the back or running around in the front dealing with difficult customers. The movie focuses on the staff of a mythical chain restaurant called “Shenanigans.” Shenanigans is designed to look a lot like several famous “casual dining” chains without infringing copyright or libel laws. The walls of the restaurant are all covered with tchotchkes, Americana and knickknacks, and the food could be at home in any area of the country. The staff is made up of all the typical restaurant worker stereotypes: The waitress who has worked for just a bit too long and is always angry at somebody (Allana Ubach); the pair of dishwashers who are always stoned (led by Andy Milonakis of MTV fame); the cook that has lost all hope for his life and verbally abuses everybody who so much as walks by (an absolutely hysterical Dane Cook); the suave waiter who can coax a tip out of the most miserly hands (Ryan Reynolds of “Van Wilder”); and most predictably, the waiter who wonders what the hell he is still doing waiting tables (Justin Long). “Waiting” is a part of a trend spawned from Kevin Smith’s “Clerks,” an indie hit from 1994. It is the first of its type to get a big-budget backing (and, most likely, an audience). Where Smith’s humor is sarcastic, cutting and witty, McKittrick stoops mainly to a sophomoric level of sex, drinking and bodily function jokes. “It’s genuinely funny but it’s in a ‘slice-of-life,’ not antic-y in an over-the-top broad way,” Long said. “It’s very realistically funny, and the gross-out stuff is grounded in this reality. I think, really, if you have waited tables then it won’t surprise you. A lot of the gross-out stuff won’t be considered far-fetched because everybody has a story about witnessing awful shit – no pun intended.” The plot focuses on Dean, Long’s character, and his quest to stop waiting tables and actually do something with his life. This plot would almost be meaningful if it didn’t serve simply as a backdrop for “The Game,” a restaurant pastime that runs, in varying form, in almost every restaurant. The Game consists of one basic premise: Showing your genitals. This may scare those who haven’t worked in a restaurant, but McKittrick said it is an integral part of releasing steam for employees. McKittrick’s variation of “The Game” involves catching another employee unaware with one’s genitals displayed in an interesting fashion. Based on the creativity with varying “positions” such as the “Bat Wing” or the “Goat,” one can then administer a certain number of kicks in the ass to the other person. Is it mature? Not in the slightest. Is it eerily accurate? You bet your night’s tips it is. “It was hard for me to play, personally, because I actually don’t have genitalia,” Long said jokingly. “I just have a fleshy mound; a patch, if you will, not unlike a Ken doll. It was difficult for them to rope me in because I will show my dog and my girlfriend my genitals. And my doctor, and my pharmacist, and my dog’s doctor, my veterinarian, and the girl who works at Dairy Queen, but that’s about it.” There are pages worth of material reminiscent of a real restaurant. The viewer looks at the movie as a satire of working in a restaurant, based on but not restricted to true stories, the movie should educate any person to what waiters, cooks and dishwashers go through every single day. The movie opens itself up for a sequel, just like restaurant work lends itself to an unending spiral of trying to get out of the business and failing. Restaurant work is something everybody can fall back on when their lofty goals fall through. Similarly, “Waiting” is a movie anybody can watch when they aren’t in the mood for anything intellectual.

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