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Predictable, irreverent ‘Waiting…’ still humorous

Mark Bemenderfer | Monday, February 20, 2006

Ryan Reynolds is quickly becoming the actor of choice for college students everywhere. Through his starring role in “Van Wilder” and cameo appearance in “Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle,” Reynolds has developed an on-screen persona that is easily identifiable and often hilarious for viewers.

In “Waiting…,” Reynolds’ latest movie released on DVD, he plays his trademark character. Sarcastic, witty and sometimes insightful, Reynolds acts as the edgy quasi-jerk character named Monty. Promiscuous and self-centered, it is the role that Reynolds has mastered to a science and makes for an enjoyable viewing.

Monty, along with a cast of colorful characters, works in a family restaurant called Shenanigans. Loosely based on several well-known chains, Shenanigans manages to look instantly familiar despite being completely fictitious. Random knick-knacks hang on the walls, and the atmosphere will be recognizable to most viewers.

The title of the restaurant is surprisingly appropriate for the movie, as cheeky shenanigans rule the film. Irreverent and entertaining, “Waiting…” doesn’t try to pass itself off as high-art. It plays out more like Reynolds’ previous movies, although at moments it does get slightly serious.

It’s structured like one would expect, with the aforementioned colorful cast.

Each of the expected stereotypes is present, but they remain interesting despite their predictable nature. Justin Long plays Dean, one of Monty’s friends who isn’t exactly sure what he wants from life. Meandering through a community college, his lack of solid direction may mirror many students – making him an identifiable character.

The manager of Shenanigans is the old guy who tries too hard to be cool and yet is simply too far removed from his employees to really understand them. There is also the waitress who openly hates her job, but manages to hide her distaste from the customers.

The rest of the characters also fill out rather one-dimensional roles, but this shallowness doesn’t necessarily hinder the movie. They are the characters that one finds in any teen or college comedy, and they are more likable because of their familiarity.

The movie takes place over a single day, showing a full 24 hours in the lives of the members of the restaurant. What happens after the day isn’t explained and may leave some viewers with questions, but this lack of explanation is excusable, as it doesn’t detract from the humor.

The special features for “Waiting…” are fairly diverse as well. The DVD comes in a two-disc unrated deluxe edition. In the special features are the usual extras, such as outtakes, deleted scenes, alternate takes and commentaries. Some of them are entertaining, but most were not used in the film for obvious reasons.

Two features, such as “Sending it back: The Real Dish on Waiting Tables” and “That Little Extra documentary” help round out the package by elaborating on some of the scenes in the movie, adding some helpful background material.

“Waiting…” is meant to be a rather predictable, cheesy movie. Taken in that light, it’s very entertaining and fills the role well. But those looking for a deep, meaningful film should explore other venues.