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Movie Review

Want to eat fetid food and get a good case of moral poisoning in the process? Then by all means swing over and pay a visit to Shenanigan’s restaurant, home of the desperately depraved, where even the workers describe themselves as “completely sick.” It is a place where restaurant horror stories come true. (The cooks’ response to the 5-second rule of dropping items on the ground? “A little floor spice makes everything nice.”) And it's a breeding ground for puerile parties, derelict drug abuse and routine one-night stands.

Who runs this joint? Monty, a perverted ladies’—make that teenage girls’—man. Mitch, a newcomer who’s being "trained" by Monty. Raddimus, the head chef, who's obsessed with both a crude staff game (to be explained later) and having sex with his girlfriend. Amy and Serena, who both use their looks to get bigger tips. Naomi, a foul-mouthed, stressed-out chain-smoker. Bishop, a philosophizing dishwasher. And last but not least, Dean, who despite being the veteran server among the group, wants to quit and do something with his life. Unfortunately, he’s just been offered the position of assistant manager.

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Positive Elements

Dean desires more from life than being stuck in a dead-end job. For an ever-so-brief moment, the partying lifestyle of after-hours sex, drugs and booze is shown as empty, and Dean thanks Monty for being a good friend. (Alas, clarity fades quickly as Monty suggests he cover up his pain and worry by getting completely sloshed.)

Spiritual Content

Shenanigan’s manager, Dan, gets his kicks by having cars towed from his lot. As a tow truck is hauling off yet another vehicle, he quips, “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.”

Sexual Content

Within the first few minutes, Monty explains to Mitch what’s referred to as the “penis-showing game.” The object is to make a male co-worker unintentionally look at another man’s exposed privates. From that moment on, we’re subjected to continuous sight gags and conversations about this. As one waitress states, “You’re perverts, all of you. ... You can’t go five minutes without referencing your genitals.” Unfortunately, Shenanigan’s guys don’t just refer. ...

Raddimus explains various strategies of exposing his privates, using explicit language as a verbal aid and raw chicken as a visual one. On several occasions, co-workers flash one another. Usually, we aren't forced to see what they see, but it's a consideration that's withdrawn before film's end with close-ups of Raddimus’ testicles and Naomi's pubic hair.

There's really nothing left for me to say after relating that bit of pornographic sleaze.

But it's only the tip of the movie's iceberg of sexual content. Raddimus and his girlfriend have graphic sex in the restaurant bathroom. (Their relationship is based on his insatiable desire for sexual favors and her willingness to oblige.) We see her giving him pleasure at a movie and ... during a church service.

Monty is known for having sex with minors, and he hits on the restaurant hostess, Natasha, as well as a group of 16-year-olds. He and Natasha are shown making out in bed, though he opts to wait one more week (when she’ll turn 18) to go all the way with her.

Conversations include vulgar comments about penis size, sexual techniques, masturbation, oral sex, anal sex, lesbianism, homosexuality, manual penetration, orgasms, prostitution, STDs and sexual stamina. Body language and hand motions denote sexual acts.

Violent Content

Guys kick each other as part of their game. With dreams of living the gangsta lifestyle, two busboys frequently fantasize about drive-by shootings and “blowing people away” with massive firearms. A song lyric references a kid “capping” his own mother. In a dream sequence, Dan gets doused with gasoline while trying to extinguish a raging fire.

Crude or Profane Language

Nonstop. Literally. With 150 or so f-words (many of them sexual in nature) and 40 s-words, it’s no wonder Waiting... was labeled by the MPAA as having “pervasive language.” (Not that "pervasive language" even begins to do it justice.) Add to the mire a sick stream of sexually obscene terms and this film moves into a whole new realm of foul. Obscene gestures are made. God’s and Jesus' names are profaned more than two-dozen times.

Drug and Alcohol Content

At work, beer flows at Shenanigan’s, as does whiskey and other liquors. After-work parties include people consuming more hard liquor, beer and marijuana (both in bong and joint form). The two busboys get high in the storage room by smoking joints and inhaling from whipped cream cans. Naomi puffs away on cigarettes, as do other teenagers. Natasha is notorious for (and unashamed about) getting drunk at parties.

Other Negative Elements

Let’s begin with making everyone’s worst food nightmares come true. When a spiteful customer demands her food be sent back to the kitchen, the cooks “re-prepare” it by topping it off with, among other things, snot, head lice and pubic hair. Later, the waitress serving this customer says she hopes the woman was abused as a child.

Jokes are made about children with mental retardation and Down’s syndrome. "Foreigners" are maligned. Women are degraded. An ongoing “subplot” involves a waiter who’s unable to urinate because another man looked at his privates. We see numerous shots of him attempting to go to the bathroom, and he ends up wetting himself.

Conclusion

I waited tables for several years as I worked my way through college and even continued after. I remember possessing the frustrating ability of knowing nine times out of 10 how well someone would tip the minute he or she walked in the door. I recall seeing dozens of servers and cooks caught in a hopeless lifestyle of drugs, sex and partying. And I’ll never forget those customers who seemed to go out of their way to make my life as miserable as possible.

So as far as accurately portraying the grimy underbelly of the food industry, Waiting... hits the nail on the head. I knew womanizers like Monty, twisted cooks like Raddimus and volatile tough-girls like Naomi (all of whom were usually referred to by other, less-flattering names). Likewise, the tip-stiffing, overly demanding customers and all manner of under-the-table practices can be seen at most local restaurant chains on an everyday basis.

But absolutely none of that makes this plot-less, pointless, puerile and profane movie worthwhile. Scores of even mediocre movies have captured the tone of a culture or topic with remarkable precision while avoiding the deep-sea dive this film takes into extreme vulgarity and tastelessness. Waiting... isn't trying to pull the lid off the clam chowder and show the world what really goes on in restaurant kitchens. It's far too busy indulging in the ongoing one-upmanship of a “penis-showing game.”

A postscript: When will filmmakers stop making movies that are, in the words of Monty, “demented, depraved and senseless”? I guess when Americans finally wise up and stop going to see them.

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Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

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