The film is set in a small town in the Southern United States. Jenna has plans to go to pie baking contest in a nearby town called 'Jonesville'. Joe (the Andy Griffith character) reads a newspaper called the "Redhood Picayune" - possibly a tip to a town in the Southern U.S.
The movie was filmed on location in Saugus, California
" Seeing Waitress at Sundance was a really emotional experience. The typical format for the festival is that the director is introduced to say a few words before the film begins. It was painful from the beginning to see that there was no director to introduce the film, since Adrienne had died. So the producer and Adrienne's husband Andy talked about how it had been Adrienne's dream to have a film at Sundance. It was very poignant. "
-Nancy Utley, COO at Fox Searchlight
The film was accepted into the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, though its premiere was bittersweet because writer/director Shelly (who also played Dawn in the film) was murdered less than three months before its debut and just before she was about to learn the film had been accepted into the festival. Its success there led Fox Searchlight Pictures to acquire the distribution rights for $4-5 million. It opened the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival.
The film received mostly positive reviews from critics, with an 89% "Fresh" rating among the 163 reviews tracked by Rotten Tomatoes, and ending the year on that site's list of Top 100 films for 2007. It got a 75 out of 100 at Metacritic. Waitress was called a "good-hearted, well-made comedy" brimming with "quality star wattage".The reviewer from The A.V. Club was less glowing, concluding:
It would be tempting to compare the setting and ditzy sidekick/tough-talking blonde/soulful lead dynamic unfavorably to Martin Scorsese's Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore if it aspired that high. With its snappy dialogue and broad characters, it's closer in spirit to that film's sitcom spin-off, Alice. Still, there's much to offset the shortcomings, particularly nice performances from Russell and Fillion and a rare, welcome role from Andy Griffith as the diner's gruff owner, even if he's largely there to set up a finale that cheats much of what's come before. It's an imperfect film, but it's the kind of imperfect film of which it would be nice to have seen Shelly make more.
Mick LaSalle called it a "great American film" that transcends its "air of whimsicality and its emphasis on small-town characters and humble locations."
Awards and nominations
Adrienne Shelly received a Best Screenplay nomination at the 23rd Independent Spirit Awards.
man this is such a really powerful drama movie 2 watch.......its got a good soundtrack throughout this movie......I think that both Jeremy Sisto (From the brilliant tv series 6 fee under) as Earl Hunterson, Nathan Fillion (From the brilliant tv series firefly) as Dr. Jim Pomatter, were absolutely brilliant throughout this movie in there roles throughout this movie.......I think that this is such a very powerful drama movie 2 watch, its got a great cast throughout this movie.......I think that this is such a very sad movie as this is the very last movie of Adrienne Shelly (RIP)......man this is such a powerful drama movie 2 watch but it is such an enjoyable movie 2 watch, its got a great cast throughout this movie.....man this is such a fantastic movie 2 watch, its got a great cast throughout this movie.....man this is such a really sad movie 2 watch but it is such a fantastic movie 2 watch with a great cast throughout this movie.....