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Winsor McCay -- The Master Edition

A new DVD offers an opportunity to see films by a master of animation —Andrea Birgers (DVD review...)

Gertie the Dinosaur, born of Winsor McCay

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“How do you feel about full frontal male nudity?” Asks Ryan Reynolds at the beginning of this latest sophomoric, gross-out comedy. Hopefully, you’ll find it as amusing as the characters in Waiting do. If jokes revolving around sex, fecal matter, obscenities and pubic hair still have the ability to make you laugh, then this picture will succeed at being the giggle-of-the-week.

Restaurant Space

Don't ever send your food back
Don’t ever send your food back

Waiting is the Office Space of the restaurant industry... except that there is no plot, there are no likable characters, and it just isn’t funny. Written and directed by Rob McKittrick, this film relies on the audience being able to relate to the cliches of working in the restaurant industry. The gags come when McKittrick takes the cliches and twists them to an extreme degree. The concept is clever and ripe with possibilities, but the comedy doesn’t deliver laughs. It delivers instead disgusting shocks and immature fart jokes.

You Know The Drill

The film revolves around Mitch’s (John Francis Daley) first day on the job at Shenanigans food-chain restaurant. Monty (Reynolds), a frat-boyish waiter, has been assigned to give Mitch the job orientation. We tour with them as Monty introduces him to the other employees: an eerily calm waiter, Dean (Justin Long), Monty’s best friend, who is searching for his place in society; Serena (Anna Faris), an attractive waitress who always gets what she wants; foul-mouthed waitress Naomi (Alanna Ubach); underage hostess Natasha (Vanessa Lengies), who is hounded by all of the male employees; disgusting cook Raddimus (Luis Guzman); and two busboys (Max Kasch and Andy Milonakis) who wanna be gangsters; all overseen by clueless manager Dan (David Koechner).

After we are introduced to these characters and their silly antics, the work day begins. Most of the obvious things that you’d expect to happen, do. Customers under-tip and the waiter gets upset; a woman sends back her under-cooked steak, and the cooking staff do many ill-conceived things to it before sending it back; the attractive waitresses flirt with their customers in order to receive big tips, and so on. The movie continues to be this pointless, uninventive, and stupid right down to the credits.

Out of Business

If you’re going to make a film that focuses on its characters rather than its plot, the characters will need to be enticing enough for the audience to watch for two hours. The male employees act like prehistoric apes — hounding women, flashing their genitals at one another, and doing the most hideous things to food without batting an eye. As for the females, they are snobby, ill-tempered and ruthless.

The characters in Waiting are not even people, but breeds. They are all built upon certain stereotypes that are faithfully and boringly honored. McKittrick doesn’t care about showing the comedic side of working at a restaurant, but attempts to make us laugh at the type of people working there.

After such an “intimate” day with the workers at this restaurant, there is just one thing that I’ve taken away from the experience: Be nice to the people who handle your food, and if they screw up your order... never, ever send the food back.