Waiting… is a mid ’00s comedy-drama with a genuinely impressive cast. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Justin Long, Anna Faris, David Koechner, Luis Guzmán, Andy Milonakis, John Francis Daley and Dane Cook, Waiting… is one of those comedies that slipped through the cracks and faded pretty quickly into obscurity.
The exact why and how is painfully apparent on inspection. Perhaps the film’s biggest and most problematic issue is that within the film’s first 10 minutes, there are characters bragging about committing statutory rape (yes, seriously). While that’s obviously bad enough, one of the main characters spends much of the film pursuing an underage girl in a subplot that is barely acknowledged by the other characters. In fact, in one scene, the underage girl in question entertains the would-be predator’s illegal proclivities by offering up an entire group of 16 year old patrons for him to “serve”. Creepy.
While that is without a doubt Waiting…’s most disturbing aspect, there’s also a vein of misogyny that runs through the entire film. The female characters present are constantly treated as lesser beings by the film’s writers both by the other characters and the fact that they have only a handful of lines between them in the entire film – most of which to make them the butt of a joke.
There’s also a whole mess of homophobic comments of the sort that were “acceptable” in the early ’00s, plenty of sexual harassment and the general, misguided idea that all of it is both edgy and hilarious.
It’s disappointing, really, because underneath all that, there’s actually not a bad story. Dean (Justin Long) is facing something of a quarter-life crisis as he learns that his high-school rival has just graduated with a bachelor’s in electrical engineering, and he begins to question how happy he is with his job waiting tables at a chain restaurant with a group of slackers and misfits. The whole film takes place over the course of one day as Dean rethinks his life, trying to decide whether he should take a promotion at the job he hates or whether he should take a step into the unknown.
Unfortunately, all that plot is buried is under low-brow humour, misogyny and homophobia. What’s worse, what plot there actually is as predictable and formulaic as the film’s “comedy”, making for a generally unsatisfying viewing experience.
Summary: Offensive, pointless and predictable, it’s no wonder time forgot this film. Honestly, you’ll spend the whole runtime “Waiting…” to laugh, and you’ll mostly likely still be “Waiting…” when the credits roll.
Highlight: The throwaway scene between Reynolds’ character and his mother is possibly the only genuinely funny aspect of the film, which I suppose qualifies it as a highlight.