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Raunchy teen comedy worth the ‘Wait’

Vince Labriola | Wednesday, October 12, 2005

“Waiting …” is the latest in a long line of raunchy teen comedies that extends as far back as 1978’s seminal classic “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” and as recently as this summer’s “Wedding Crashers.”

Rob McKittrick’s directorial debut is one unrelenting gross-out after another, and as a result has been panned by the vast majority of critics out there. However, if approached as nothing more than it is – a raunchy teen comedy – “Waiting …” is very funny, albeit occasionally (nay, constantly) perverted, entertainment that only falters when compared to some of the true classics of the genre.

The raunchy teen comedy has always been an acquired taste. From the now-revered antics of Otter, Bluto and the Deltas in “Animal House,” to the now infamous Jim and his “American Pie,” these films have been routinely panned by critics, and rightfully so. Each new entry into the genre sets the bar for grossness one notch higher, and Rob McKittrick’s new film “Waiting …” carries the torch unceremoniously onward. This doesn’t change the fact that the film is very funny.

“Waiting …” is not intended for the avant-garde set watching films in art-house cinemas in Tribeca. This is a film meant for adolescent teenagers who like to indulge their inner pervert like Tim Matheson did with Dean Wormer’s wife in 1978 and Jason Biggs so memorably did with his mother’s baked goods in 1999.

A story about a day in the life of a group of 20-somethings working at a national restaurant chain (think Bennigan’s or T.G.I. Friday’s), “Waiting …” places every aspect of the location at its disposal. Jokes about trusting the people who make and serve your food abound, as do clever commentaries on stereotypes like the artificiality of the perky attitudes and environments created in establishments such as the one presented in the film.

Leading the way is Monty, the lead waiter at Shenanigan’s, played ably by Ryan Reynolds (“Van Wilder”). Reynolds holds his own throughout the film, and his acrid, sex-filled conversation with his mother truly does deserve a spot among some of the best scenes in teen movie history (think along the lines of the outrageousness of something like the “Nadia Web cam” sequence in “American Pie”).

Dane Cook and Luis Guzman appear as well, and while Cook’s particular penchant for vile humor fits the bill well here, Guzman is hilarious as the head cook obsessed with catching people looking at his, ah, equipment. It can safely be said that after watching “Waiting …” one will never look at a goat in the same way again.

“Waiting …” is certainly not such a sure-fire crowd pleaser like “Wedding Crashers” or “Old School,” which relied on tried-and-true teen comedy tent poles, nor does it have the charisma that defines a true classic like “Animal House.”

It is uncompromisingly vulgar, perverse and downright outrageous at times, and as a result most will not even give it a chance, lest they be associated with such crude filth.

However, if you are looking for something that, if you let it, really will make you laugh, “Waiting …” fits the bill nicely. Just make sure you’re not planning on eating anytime soon.