‘Waiting’ for a good movie

If “Waiting .” (Lion’s Gate) is any indication, the gross-out teen slacker comedy genre is on its last legs.

It’s a sloppy mess of a comedy that’s a little too derivative of Kevin Smith’s “Clerks” and doesn’t attempt to do anything different from what we’ve seen in similar movies.

The plot basically follows a day in the life of the employees of a T.G.I. Fridays-style chain restaurant and the daily insanity that occurs during a day of work. While mainly an ensemble movie, the focus is on Dean (Justin Long), a community college graduate stuck in a dead-end job, and his best friend Monty (Ryan Reynolds), a wise-ass waiter. Unfortunately the film can’t decide if it’s an ensemble movie or an individual piece, so the structure of the film is completely disorganized. It’s clear the story is riffing on “Clerks,” with its one-day premise and its two dissatisfied employees, but it gets muddled with various side-plots and a copious amount of characters. Instead of taking “Clerks” as a foundation and building on it, the movie adds extraneous elements that detract from the overall story.

The cast doesn’t fare better either. Filled with familiar faces, the cast is mostly unable to lift the shoddy story to a higher quality level. Reynolds, playing the Randall-type character, acts exactly like he did in “Van Wilder,” right down to the annoying little quips. Andy Milonakis, a recent addition to MTV, is barely in the movie, but he’s being promoted as one of the stars.

Luis Guzman is one of the only good aspects of the movie. If you know him from other movies, he has a funny, likeable element that makes him entertaining regardless of the trash he appears in. Long is also a standout, as he’s one of the few people in the film that displays some acting ability. He’s playing the conflicted employee, a role that requires a little more than just acting goofy and over-the-top, which is what most of the actors do in the movie.

The movie is director/screenwriter Rob McKittrick’s first foray into cinema, and it shows. The dialogue is awkward and structured weirdly, sounding more like the work of a sitcom writer. Every conversation ends with a punch-line, a quip, or worst of all, a pun, and it quickly becomes irritating. The film has an amateurish feel to it, which works in the case of a low-budget indie, but not with a larger budget, mainstream movie. There are some decent raunchy comedies out there that have some redeeming values to them. Unfortunately, “Waiting.” is not one of them.

“Waiting” will be in theaters nationwide on Oct. 7.

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