The strongest element in the film is featured on the Dvd cover: no it's not Keri Russel as Jenna or Nathan Fillion as Dr. Pomatter, it's the pies. A large part of the film is dedicated to the idea that Jenna makes the most amazing pies anyone's ever tasted. During the movie you'll see her create new recipes on the spot as a way to deal with her life and when these pies are put together, they're lovingly shot and the cinematography is first rate. Watching the movie your mouth will start to water and you'll be incredibly hungry by the time it ends. That's not to say the performances aren't good or that the script isn't well written, it's just that this element stands out so much that it needs to be given the spotlight first.
As mentioned earlier, the movie isn't really a comedy. There are genuinely funny moments in here, mostly from the weird side-characters and those are always fun to see. Andy Griffith is terrific as Old Joe, a grumpy old man that isn't all that bad once you get to know him and Ogie, a desperate romantic that makes up poetry on the spot (played by Edward Jamison) is sweet. You like "Jenna", even though it gets quite frustrating at times to follow her story as she's constantly beaten down by her possessive and jealous husband. Jeremy Sisto does a good job playing Earl even if at times the character is a ridiculous stereotype of an abusive husband. He successfully portrays a villain that you genuinely hate but whenever he's on the screen he also becomes incredibly annoying.
From the setup this film might also seem like it's a romantic story, or at least you might think so based on the Dvd cover, which shows Jenna embracing Dr. Pomatter but it really isn't that either. There are some sweet elements of romance in the film, but those are mostly with the side characters. It's actually a good thing that the romance element isn't dominating the film because really the story is about an unhappy wife having an affair with her doctor and that's just a mess waiting to happen. The story is about a woman who finally starts growing a backbone and grows as a person. That's where the movie really satisfies because the character development and arcs are very well done. Although there is a major element of the film's conclusion that comes out of nowhere and is incredibly convenient to the plot, it's crowd pleasing and ends on a very sweet note. At times the movie is very emotionally manipulative but if you're in the mood to see an underdog cope with life and finally get to deal with all the crap that's been dumped on her, this will definitely hit the spot. There are some serious flaws in "Waitress" but under the right circumstances (And we're not talking about "I'm in the mood to watch a bad movie!" kind of circumstances) it satisfies. (Dvd, June 2013)
& how finally a sad girl, who tried to run away from her own life, finds happiness. Feel good.
But yeah.. that affair with doc is bit weird.
It's the apparently simple story of Jenna, small town southern waitress, with a god given talent for creating original and delicious pies. Stuck in a horrible marriage with an idiot husband, Jenna's saving money so she can bolt - until she finds out she's pregnant. She falls into a hopeless intense affair with a married young doctor, played with customary charm and intelligence by TV's own Cary Grant, Nathan Fillion. That's about the whole story, the stakes keep getting raised higher as the doctor and the waitress carry on an increasingly steamy affair just as her belly gets bigger and her husband gets more demanding and abusive.
The pies are a terrific touch, because the recipes are thematically related to the beats of the story (i.e. I hate my husband pie, crushed lumpy oatmeal and sour cherries, etc.). The making of the pies is shot gorgeously and, amazingly this device never gets tired.
I forced myself to watch this, because on paper, it looks like a cliched, gratuitously offbeat comedy full of faux folksiness and bad southern accents. It's far better than that. Director Shelley and Cheryl Hines play her fellow waitresses with verve and spunk, and Jeremy Sisto as the abusive husband may be stupid, but he's an identifiable human being, not a cliched villain, who evokes our empathy, even as we are rooting for Jenna to get the hell out of the marriage.
On the DVD extras, the cast all rhapsodize about Shelley's having such a clear vision of what she wanted and how she was a control freak for every aspect of this production. That is palpably true, and it's a tragedy that she didn't get to make more films. See this one, you'll be happy.