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Originally published Friday, October 7, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Movie review

"Waiting ...": Gross kitchen caper goes behind restaurant's swinging door

The next time you're tempted to take a day's worth of frustration out on a minimum-wage-earning waiter or waitress serving your dinner, think...

Special to The Seattle Times

The next time you're tempted to take a day's worth of frustration out on a minimum-wage-earning waiter or waitress serving your dinner, think twice. Rob McKittrick's debut comedy, "Waiting ... ," based on his recollections of working for a chain restaurant, strongly suggests that every paranoid fantasy about what happens to a rude customer's food in a beanery's kitchen is quite real — and then some.

A ribald, workplace satire, "Waiting ... " is a story of young adults either biding time or getting trapped in a dead-end job. At the center of things is underachieving good-guy Dean (Justin Long) and his acerbic, bunco-slinging best friend Monty (Ryan Reynolds). Most of the action is set in a family restaurant called ShenaniganZ on an unexpectedly pivotal day in which Dean is offered an assistant-manager position while Monty ponders the possibility of sleeping with a 17-year-old hostess.

Movie review 2.5 stars


Showtimes and trailer

"Waiting ... " with Ryan Reynolds, Justin Long, Wendie Malick, Anna Faris. Written and directed by Rob McKittrick. Rated R for strong crude and sexual humor, pervasive language and some drug use. 93 minutes. Several theaters.

The latter misdeed would set a new low for Monty, but it only takes a couple of minutes watching this very funny character to realize he could best anyone from "Animal House" in depravity.

Dean, by contrast, is all restless intelligence and constant ambivalence. The job offer only amplifies his inability to decide anything and makes him miserable. Meanwhile, the raucous culture of ShenaniganZ's kitchen includes gross rituals (genital exposure), restroom sex, bed-hopping between colleagues, psychotic rage, gangsta wannabes, crazed cooks, a dishwashing guru and a stomach-turning sequence in which the staff heaps revenge on a cantankerous customer's meal.

In the thick of the madness is actress Anna Faris, a Seattle native and University of Washington graduate soon to be seen in Ang Lee's "Brokeback Mountain."

McKittrick's relentless vulgarity is wearing, but he's a strong visualist who keeps his shoestring-budget film looking fresh. He also hints at greater sophistication to come in a remarkable scene in which Monty trades horrifying taunts with his mother (Wendie Malick), who clearly has never approved of her son. The scene is a marvel of subtext, and suggests better possibilities from McKittrick.

Tom Keogh: tomwkeogh@yahoo.com

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