Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 96 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: This sweet, sassy and delicious slice of life tale reveals the power of friendship, motherhood and the willingness to take a chance. (Fox Searchlight)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. Waitress deserves an essay, not just a review. There are perfect moments that stand out, and the reasons for their perfection are interesting.
  2. The film is laced with lovely moments, from the leads and from Shelly as a waitress friend.
  3. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    An unassuming treat amid the noisy blockbuster season. It’ll melt your heart and any dietary resolve equally.
  4. 75
    A pleasant dramatic comedy that overcomes its tonal inconsistencies by presenting an engaging lead character with whom its virtually impossible not to empathize.
  5. 70
    Washed in a honeyed 1950s glow, Waitress has a mildly puckish way with outlandish baked goods and pert dialogue, but the movie is memorable largely for the contrast between its innocent sweetness and the savagery of its maker's premature death.
  6. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    While aspects verge on sitcom terrain, this tale of a pregnant small-town woman caught between a bad marriage and a risky affair is mostly as funny and charming as intended.
  7. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    It appears to be a true reflection of her (Shelly) spirit -- eccentric, good-naturedly feminist, kind of funny and kind of sentimental. Despite its realistic setting in a small Southern town, it is much more a fable than it is a slice of authentic life.

See all 34 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 51
  2. Negative: 10 out of 51
  1. PatrickM.
    May 11, 2007
    When my wife dragged me along to this film, I was prepared for another sugar-and-vinegar chick-flick yawn. Man was I wrong. It was made for guys. It opens, and ends, with pie. That should be enough. Recipe: Start with a standard small-town midsummer crust. Mix in a lonely, intelligent, stunningly beautiful blond, Kerri Russell, in a nurse-evocative pie-shop uniform, and we're in deep smit. Add an abusive, childish husband, and our protective instincts kick in. Stir in a pregnancy, and those instincts are in full force. Infuse with lots of humor, a risky affair, a codgerly grandpa figure, a greasy line-cook boss, a smarmy poet-stalker, a leggy gold-digger, secret loneliness, and a sidekick played by writer/director/producer the late Adrienne Shelley, and our languishing comic-book character fantasies are steadily evoked. Top with our weaknesses for money and fatherhood. Bake for the perfect length of time, serve with a generous helping of humanity, finish with a hefty glass of moral relativity, and round out with a food-based lullaby. Wow. Every guy should see this film, and every girlfriend/wife/partner should take him. Expand
  2. JeffB
    Nov 23, 2007
    Off the charts charming. There is a lot of joy to be found here, but a great amount of quiet suffering as well. If the last ten minutes of the movie were lopped off, this might be soul-crushingly depressing. Keri Russell's performance communicates perfectly the helplessness and despondency of feeling trapped by life and circumstances.... Expand
  3. Oct 27, 2011
    Waitress walks a pretty thin line between dark relationship drama and whimsical comedy and it does so perfectly making the film thoroughly enjoyable while also giving it bite.
    Waitress tells the story of Jenna (Keri Russell), a small town waitress with a knack for making pies, who discovers she is pregnant with her repulsive husbands (Jeremy Sisto) child. She plans to win a pie making contest in a nearby town to make enough money to get away from him.
    Waitress is exceedingly clever in that it doesn't resort to any form of cliche when it could easily do so. For instance Jennas husband manages to be repugnant while also tragic, scary while also affectionate. Its something only a skilfully written script, actor and director could do together and it works magnificently. However the film really shines because of its supporting characters like Dr Pomatter (Nathan Fillion) and diner owner Joe (Andy Griffiths) who bring big lashings of humour and heart to the film. Russell gives a powerful performance that never becomes overtly emotional because it isn't in the character. The strong southern nature of her character does contrast with the closed in feeling she has about her marriage but at the same time makes you wonder why she hasn't left him already (a question handled well at the end of the film) Waitress is a perfectly crafted movie with plenty of comedy, emotion and depth.
  4. MarkB.
    Aug 15, 2007
    Too bad this piquant but charming little small-town character study, despite several promising weeks in the Top Ten, ultimately didn't have the staying power that would've made it this year's equivalent to 2002's My Big Fat Greek Wedding (which it's superior to) or last year's Little Miss Sunshine (which it's FAR superior to). Keri Russell (of TV's Felicity) is luminous as the title character Jenna, who sublimates her disappointment with her less-than-totally-fulfilling career and genuinely miserable home life by concocting highly original, offbeat pie recipes. (Some of us cook. Some of us post online movie reviews. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to.) Life takes an unexpected turn when Jenna discovers she's pregnant, a development that threatens to leave her permanently tied to her creepy, abusive husband Earl (Jeremy Sisto), but also opens up new possibilities (and moral dilemmas, which the movie admirably doesn't shy away from) in the form of a romance with her Dr. McDreamy-like gynecologist (Nathan Fillion, of the cult TV show Firefly and subsequent movie Serenity). With our country perhaps more polarized in the last few years than it's been at any time in its history since, oh, maybe the Civil War, Waitress is exactly the kind of purple-state movie we all desperately need; it's clearly feminist in its beliefs that women are rightfully entitled to the full spectrum of opportunities that come so easily to men, but one must also note that even though Jenna clearly doesn't want to have the baby (and Earl is such a loose cannon that it's potentially dangerous for her to have it), she--like Katharine Heigl's Alison in Knocked Up--doesn't seriously consider an abortion. Triple-threat talent Adrienne Shelly, who wrote and directed as well as contributing a thoroughly endearing supporting turn as coworker Dawn, occasionally veers too sharply into sitcom territory (the third waitress is a tad too similar to Flo on TV's Alice for total comfort) but more than compensates with dozens of perfect but unobtrusive, almost subliminal little directorial touches. Notice, for example, what happens visually to Jenna's surroundings once the baby is born, and observe how the font Shelly chooses in the opening credits makes a significant, poignant reappearance in the final scene. The writing is often wonderfully multilayered and subtle, too, especially in the handling of Earl: he's certainly scary and dangerous, and Jenna has every reason and right to try to escape him, but Shelly, rather than taking the easy way out and making him one-dimensionally monstrous, paints him as deeply insecure and at times even childlike...which of course doesn't justify his behavior but at least makes it seem logical (at least from HIS point of view). Remember that Jenna does admit that she married him BEFORE he became this way, which indicates that there must have been a time in which she at least thought she loved him. Parallels with Shelly's own tragic offscreen fate are best left mostly undiscussed because there's no profit or point in giving her murderer any more publicity than he deserves, but I will briefly bring up two points: the violence with which Shelly met her end stands in heartbreaking contrast with the gentleness of her final film, and if my memory serves me correctly, Shelly could, sadly, become the first posthumous Best Original Screenplay Oscar nominee on record in a few months. And if the Academy Award folks want to give Andy Griffith the same Lifetime Achievement--er, Best Supporting Actor award they gave Alan Arkin last year, for Griffith's hugely enjoyable portrayal of Old Joe, the curmudgeon with a heart of...silver, then who are we to deny the Sheriff of Mayberry? Expand
  5. Jan 23, 2012
    Director/writer/actress Adrienne's jinxed misfortune (she was killed in a burglary at home) before releasing her second film in 2006 took on a critically unanticipated hype for this indie drama-comedy, starring a haplessly chirpy Keri Russell as the waitress and pie-baker, engrossed over 19 million dollars on the domestic box-office (versus its $2,000,000 budget). I was prejudiced to expect a comedic girl-gone-independent rousing story thanks to the bright-colored poster, multi-montages of garish pies, the risible characters (Hines and Shelly, two co-worker at the pie diner). But soon it was exposed that the film takes on a rather weighty route to probe a matter-of-fact escapism of Keriâ Expand
  6. Luke
    May 31, 2007
    The movie has its moments. But there are few characters one can clearly admire. Each of the sad sacks has so much baggage and so little integrity that it gets old. To watch a mother-to-be (impregnated by her horrible, abusive husband whilst she was drunk) declare that she has no love for the baby growing inside her, while she has an affair with her weirdo married ob-gyn, well she is really not a likable heroine. Until her redemption once the baby is born. I guess I am just tired of morally compromised characters in movies, the same as I am with morally compromised politicians, entertainers and people in general. Too few characters, and real people, really deserving of admiration these days, from our president on down. Expand
  7. JohnB.
    May 12, 2007
    I think this movie is probably a 3 or a 4, but I gave it a zero to cournter balance the overly inflated scores because the director died. It's sad, yes, but the movie is REALLY mediocre. Keep up the lame illusion that this is the best movie of the year and it will rob a deserving movie of an Oscar Nod. Get over it. It isn't that good. Expand

See all 51 User Reviews