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Adrienne Shelly


Directed by: Adrienne Shelly
20th Century Fox
Many of the lines characters in Waitress spout at each other are tiny pieces of only-in-movies poetry. Crusty diner patron/owner Old Joe (Andy Griffith) describes pregnant waitress Jenna (Keri Russell)’s pie passionately, “Then you’re flooded with chocolate, dark and bittersweet, like an old love affair… strawberry: the way strawberry was always supposed to taste, but never knew how.” Later, he tells her, “I’m dreaming a little for you, ’cause all my dreams is gone.” It’s the kind of sincere dialogue that Cameron Crowe used to write, before his sweetness turned syrupy and he foisted Elizabethtown on us. The unrealistic dialogue never becomes cloying, since it’s juxtaposed with Jenna’s hilarious lack of enthusiasm about her pregnancy, and used to express a very believable problem: being pregnant further ties Jenna to the sad little rut she’s in. She takes her pre-natal vitamins, pining for a different life---making pies---far from clingy husband Earl (Jeremy Sisto). The film’s the last one that veteran indie writer/director/actress Adrienne Shelly helmed before she was tragically killed last year, and it’s a nice note to go out on. Waitress isn’t a terribly surprising movie, but it is a funny and affecting one. The film, like the pies Jenna eventually makes for her baby, has a satisfying “heart in the middle.”
Lindsay McCarney

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