Waitress (USA; 107 min.)

directed by: Adrienne Shelly
starring: Keri Russell; Nathan Fillion; Cheryl Hines

Michael says: "How can you review WAITRESS without thinking about the tragic circumstances surrounding writer/director Adrienne Shelly’s demise? It is a testament to Shelly’s talents, particularly as a writer, that WAITRESS is a delightful film that rises above the harsh realities of her death. Keri Russell plays Jenna, a young woman in a dead-end marriage who finds herself pregnant with no prospects for her future. She works as a waitress, creating mouth-wateringly delicious pies for Joe’s Pie Diner with her close pals and fellow-waitresses Becky (Cheryl Hines) and Dawn (Shelly). Her self-involved, brutish husband is played effectively by Jeremy Sisto, and the handsome new doctor who might represent Jenna’s salvation is played by Nathan Fillion (SERENITY/Firefly). Rounding out the cast is one of Jenna’s curmudgeonly customers, Old Joe, played with delightful glee by Andy Griffith.

"On the surface, WAITRESS is a quirky, Southern style comedy. It’s almost unbearably sweet, but laced with a sadness that grounds the story embellished by the quirks of real lives struggling to get by. WAITRES is my kind of movie. Shelly’s script bravely enters cliché territory and makes it real, heartfelt, and heartbreaking. Having heard Shelly speak and knowing a little bit about her personal ideals it is easy to see these values and beliefs singing through this sweetly funny and sad film. Her directorial touch, now finely honed in her third film, is creative and assured. Her use of close-ups, particularly with Keri Russell’s and surprisingly, Andy Griffith’s beautifully expressive faces. If anything should stand as a fitting tribute to Adrienne Shelly’s life and talents, WAITRESS is it. 5 cats"