Lionsgate // 2009 // 90 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge Adam Arseneau (Retired) // April 28th, 2011
Hungry for more?
No. You are full. Do not order seconds.
Two years after Waiting..., the staff of Shenaniganz are in trouble. Profits are down after a rival restaurant, Ta-Ta's Wing Shack next door hired scantily-clad waitresses, putting pressure on Shenaniganz to raise their sales. Desperate for a promotion to district manager, restaurant manager Dennis (John Michael Higgins, Best in Show) tells the staff that if they don't clear $9,000 in a single evening, Shenaniganz will close forever!
Ah, the art of reviewing sequels to films you never saw. It was my minor in Judge School. I am an old hat at this particular form of critical lambasting. You get bonus points when the sequel in question goes straight to video.
Still Waiting... is the sequel to 2005's Waiting..., a run-of-the-mill teen comedy about the hapless staff at Shenaniganz, a family-friendly restaurant that is anything but. The first film found a small amount of success on home video, mostly with sympathetic restaurant staff who appreciated the send-up of the hospitality industry. If the sequel is any indication, the franchise seems entirely dependent on the Holy Trinity of Teen Comedy: sex, bodily fluids and swear words. Successful films in this genre usually mandate all sequences involve combinations of all three elements -- naked girls, poop and racial epithets, for example. The possible combinations are endless, as is sadly evident by the endless onslaught of movies in this genre.
Within these contexts, Still Waiting... is a horrendous disappointment. This film is a bore; a dull and lifeless lump masquerading as something edgy and provocative, with racy packaging and "Unrated" monikers strategically slapped atop it, a promise of filth and debauchery that never pays off. The jokes are weak and the nudity is non-existent. Still Waiting... throws the occasional racial epithet, but feels tame compared to half the programming on Comedy Central these days. It dances scantily clad women up and down in Hooters-esque hot pants and tank tops, but never actually does anything provocative with them beyond making them hula-hoop, or squeeze ketchup out of the bottle in a seductive manner. The characters curse, use drugs and make misogynistic jokes, but it all feels tame and half-hearted. This film is about as edgy as a pair of plastic safety scissors, and just as exciting.
Still Waiting... is chalk full of character actors and people who should know better than appearing in a film this bad. We get some cameos from some familiar Waiting... faces, credited and uncredited alike: Luiz Guzman, Justin Long, Robert Patrick Benedict, Andy Milonakis, David Koechner and Chi McBride to name a few. The smarter people, like Ryan Reynolds and Anna Faris, stayed the heck away from this train wreck. The acting is fine in of itself -- critiquing the tone of a thespian performance in a movie this dumb is like trying to save the Titanic by tossing off a deck chair -- but too many character feel like they have no place in the narrative of the film except to reprise their previous role. Fans may enjoy the nostalgia, but not me.
Presented in 1080p on Blu-ray, Still Waiting... misses the technical mark. Colors are muted and erratically balanced. Black levels are riddled with excessive noise and lack pop. White levels are non-existent, lost in a sea of grey. Close-up sequences bring us the high definition detail; facial details fare well, with hair follicles and skin imperfections easily visible, but these sequences are the exception to the rule. This is a low-budget production with a screamingly average presentation.
Audio comes in a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 presentation, which is mostly dialogue-centric and an energetic soundtrack fitting the genre. Bass response is erratic -- when it is strong, it rumbles with intensity, but in other sequences feels entirely missing. Environmental detail is well-realized and dialogue is clear throughout.
In terms of extras, we get a commentary with director Jeff Balis and writer/creatior Rob McKittrick and a bunch of SD features: twenty minutes of deleted and alternate scenes, a montage of outtakes and a 45-minute making-of featurette "Sloppy Seconds: The Making of Still Waiting...." Not a bad offering in of itself in terms of content -- it could be worse -- but the commentary track is basically unlistenable. Balis and McKittrick clown around, farting into the microphone (literally) and generally waste the entire film being immature dicks. It is an exercise in masochism to sit through.
It might not be best sequel -- or a necessary one -- but creator Rob McKittrick clearly has an affinity and love for these characters, dysfunctional and one-dimensional as they might be. Amusingly, the plot itself is the best part: a conniving manager desperate to make $9,000 in a single night to win a promotion, which against all odds motivates his slacking staff to work hard. Yes, pedantic to be sure, but sweet in an "aw shucks" kind of way.
The salvageable moments in the film are the sweet, almost tender moments sandwiched strategically between the gross-out comedy and T&A where Still Waiting... briefly resembles an actual movie full of pathos and development, but there isn't enough of it to redeem this train wreck. If you added these sequences up, you'd only have about two minutes of footage.
An unnecessary sequel, a boorish and boring comedy -- no matter how you approach it, Still Waiting... misses the mark.
Send this one back to the kitchen.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Unrated
* Deleted Scenes
* Official Site