Making the Grades
Teen audiences are a tempting treat to moviemakers. Not only do they have the most dollars to spend on a film, they also "turn over" faster than any other audience demographic. In the 16 to 19-year-old age group, where this R-rated movie is precisely aimed, you can rework your material every three years, and no one will be the wiser.
At least that's the only explanation I can think of for why movies like Waiting... get made time and time again. It is yet another gross fest, following in the tracks of American Pie. And like such predecessors, it is likely have many 16-year-olds begging a slightly older friend to accompany them past the 17-year-old rating restriction.
Amazingly, this film isn't lacking onscreen talent. Although not big named actors, the flick is full of faces you've seen before, who are capable enough players that they should have raised their bars a whole lot higher than this project allows. The backbone of the "story" is a-day-in-the-life of a chain restaurant. A new employee, Mitch (Robert Patrick Benedict), arrives for his first shift, and the manager, Dan (David Koechner) assigns Monty (Ryan Reynolds) to orient the novice.
It doesn't take long to discover Dan hasn't got a clue about what his workers are really doing behind the wall that divides the consumers from the kitchen. Monty is a twenty-something who can't seem to relate to anyone (male or female) on a non-sexual level. He quickly teaches Mitch the most important part of the job: A "game" of exposing your genitals to other staff members. Depending on how you do this, you earn the right to kick the other person in the rear. Amazingly, the entire crew is aware of the contest, although the females find the whole process rather juvenile.
The day progresses, and we meet some "typical" customers, such as a complaining woman who demands her meal be cooked to perfection. She is dished up a re-cooked steak with toppings of mucous and pubic hair. Others are the recipients of similar, far-less-than professional conduct--all in the name of comedy.
While I'm certain these difficult patrons exist--perhaps in far greater numbers than I'll ever know --it's just as sure Waiting... isn't going to offer any consequences for what amounts to illegal and abusive actions. By the end of the day even the innocent looking Mitch has becomes "one of the crowd," which means he is now spouting a litany of sexual expletives and adopting the gang's raunchy methods.
An obvious stab at the conveyor belt-like restaurant business (in which the writer/director supposedly has experience), this movie will not stop at anything for a cheap laugh. Yet, like the food industry it's spearing, this film is all about slop formula and overcooked gags. Sadly, what used to be shocking is now pass0xE9, and the sooner creators of movies like Waiting... figure that out, the quicker we can hope for something more appetizing on the marquee menu.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Waiting.
Parents of teens who happen to see this film will want to discuss the missing consequences surrounding the use of drugs, casual sex (including between adults and minors), and abusive workplace behavior, as well helping them recognize when friends and peers are having a negative influence.