The trouble with freedom is that your life’s trajectory is kind of down to you. What path you choose how hard you work to get there. If your plans don’t work out, it can leave you waiting. In 2005, Rob McKittrick took his experiences to serve up a slice of life comedy-drama that showcases what happens just what happens when your job waiting, becomes more literal than you first took it to be.
The film follows a typical day of the staff of chain restaurant Shenanigans as the new hire, Mitch. Slowly getting acquainted by veteran Monty, with the chaos that comes with the job (and staff). As this is going on, we get to know the rest of the servers and chefs, and, Dean, who lives with his mom and has to contend with the fact that his friends have moved on their lives, while he’s waiting. When Dean is offered a promotion to the assistant manager it provides an opportunity to get out of the comfortable rut he was in, but is it right for him? As the day of regular anarchy unfolds, we will find out.
A lot of this film core concept could be compared to Clerks. The same tribulations of people working in front facing retail dealing with customers and each other. The fact that the gross majority of the staff are dysfunctional, bored tricksters only adds. It, however, manages to up the premise with a gallivant of gross-out gags. As the day progresses, however, we get to know and, in a way, sympathise with our colourful cast of characters. There’s a terrifically awkward scene with Monty and Monty’s mom (played by the talented treasure Wendy Malik) that just goes to show not just how the characters got like that, but the star power Waiting manages to muster and utilise effectively.
Along with the gross-out goofs, the film pokes at ideas in the restaurant “scene” that ultimately prevail to this day. Tipping is a contentious subject, customers are still infuriating, and if anything, this has only reinforced my fear of sending back my food to the kitchen. It’s eye-opening that these issues are still ringing true now as they did over a decade ago. But even more, it captured that feeling of seeing your friends succeed on ahead of you on Facebook, long before Facebook was even a thing.
With its ensemble cast, well-observed caricatures and, creatively crude comedy. Waiting offers a relatable slice-of-life that despite its details being dated its overarching feels excruciatingly relevant, even more so today. Even if you prefer your comedy on the milder side, you’ll find yourself well catered.
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