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Filled with mostly no-names and up-and-comers, Waiting does for crappy chain restaurant staffs what Office Space did for cubicle drones. First-time writer-director Rob McKittrick — a waiter in Orlando before he finagled a $3 million deal to make this movie — has nailed the finer points of the food service industry so astutely that anyone who’s ever carried a tray through swinging doors will absolutely relate.

Set in a restaurant called Shenanigans — perfectly outfitted with faux Americana and generic memorabilia — the movie spans the four phases of the average restaurant workday: setting up and screwing around; the dinner rush; cleaning up and praying no one else comes in; and, most importantly, the after-work party.

The humor ranges from juvenile to nasty, but would anything befit the setting better? The backroom antics are over the top — especially bad is the retaliation put upon the plates of customers labeled as bee-yotches.

Lewd, yes, but give it a few weeks and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a guy in an Abercrombie shirt not quoting this movie. McKittrick’s script is dead-on funny, but just crude and immature enough to guarantee cult comedy status.

The cast, cobbled together from B, C and D lists, comes together nicely. Justin Long, coming off TV’s Ed and ho-hum flicks like Dodgeball and Jeepers Creepers, is Dean, the good guy of the bunch. The movie loosely follows his quest to figure out what to do with his life — stay at Shenanigans or finish college, then what? His best pal is the obnoxious, pompous, jailbait-hungry Monty, played by Ryan Reynolds of Blade:Trinity and Van Wilder, er, fame.

Waiting has a few more notable performers, including character actor Luis Guzmán, whose name no one knows but whose mug they surely do, given his brilliant supporting turns in Confidence, Traffic, Boogie Nights and Out of Sight to name a few. He plays Raddimus, head cook and chief prankster. Dane Cook, a hilarious young comedian everyone should get to know, and David Koechner, aka Anchorman’s Champ Kind, also appear.

And stay for the credits. Although many post-movie sideshows are frequently silly little trifles, the rap by two stoner Eminem-wannabe busboys will have you rolling in the aisles.


Showing at the Birmingham Paladium 12 (250 N. Old Woodward Ave., Birmingham; 248-644-3456) and select theaters.

Clare Pfeiffer Ramsey writes about film for Metro Times. E-mail [email protected].

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