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Waitress is a 2007 dramedy about Jenna, an unhappily married waitress/pie-baking-genius from the deep south. When she discovers she got impregnated by her abusive and domineering husband, she decides to keep the unwanted baby against all reason, leading to a passionate affair with her new, married, gynecologist. The film follows her small steps towards self-awareness, independence and happiness, while being accompanied by the staff and customers of the diner she works in and their own stories.
Directed by Adrienne Shelly, whose gruesome murder overshadowed the mostly positive reviews of the film, it stars Keri Russell as Jenna, Jeremy Sisto as her husband Earl, Nathan Fillion as the gynecologist Dr. Pomatter and Cheryl Hines as her promiscuous friend Becky.
This movie contains examples of:
- Adorkable: Dr. Pomatter, in spades. Then again, he is played by Nathan Fillion.
- Ogie, as well. His spontaneous poems do grow on you after a while.
- Babies Make Everything Better: Subverted. Jenna finally does gather the courage to ditch her husband after her daughter is born, but this is merely the last step of a long emancipational process.
- Bittersweet Ending: Jenna escapes her abusive husband and opens a pie shop with her daughter, but ends things (albeit amicably) with Dr. Pomatter. For fans of their relationship, it's a bit disappointing, though it is realistic.
- Broken Bird: Jenna.
- Buffy-Speak: Lots, and it tends to be delivered by the adorable neurotic Dr. Pomatter. But considering who plays him, that's no stretch.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Dawn, somewhat. Her husband is nearly a full-blown case.
- Cool Old Guy: Joe.
- Crap Saccharine World: On occasions the film's aesthetic is very similar to another piemaker's story. The darkness of the touched topics however, prevents the idyllic Southern setting from becoming a Sugar Bowl.
- Deadpan Snarker: Jenna and Joe.
- Did Not Get the Girl: Disappointing to some, but Dr. Pomatter is a married man and it's a much more realistic ending than if they got together.
- Domestic Abuse: Jenna's husband is a particularly nasty version because it's not physical, though he does finally hit her when she tries to leave for the pie-baking contest in another state. All the damage is done through emotional putdowns, due to his misogyny and general ignorance of anything regarding her feelings, thoughts, or desires. The film does an excellent job portraying how difficult it is to extract oneself out of this sort of situation without being Anvilicious.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Jenna. And how!
- Food Porn: Jenna's pies will have you drooling through the entire film.
- Foreshadowing: Joe's words about not being around for much longer. Poor guy.
- Freud Was Right:
Jenna: I-can't-have-no-affair-because-it's-wrong-and-I-don't-want-Earl-to-kill-me-pie. Vanilla custard and banana. Hold the banana.
- Greasy Spoon: Joe's Pie Diner.
- Hopeless Suitor: Ogie appears to be one at first. Dawn isn't the only one underestimating his determination to win her over.
- Insistent Terminology: Jenna refuses to call Dr. Pomatter by his first name (Jim).
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Joe.
- Karma Houdini: Sweet and loving man that he is, Dr. Pomatter did cheat on his wife with no consequences other than eventually losing Jenna, who spared him to repair his marriage without turmoil.
- Last-Name Basis: Jenna won't call Dr. Pomatter by his first name even though he uses hers.
- Leitmotif: The music that plays whenever Jenna invents a new pie.
- Man Child: One way to see Earl. Bordering on Psychopathic Manchild territory.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: The film features a rare male example in Dr. Pomatter, although it's subverted in the end.
- My Secret Pregnancy: Jenna tries to hide her pregnancy from her husband. It actually works for a while because he's such a thick-headed moron, but he of course catches on after a while.
- Jenna waits to tell her boss at the right time. Truth is, he knew, didn't think she went out and got fat, don't care as long she can keep doing her job.
- Running Gag: "I gotta go throw up."
- Your Cheating Heart: One of the main controversies surrounding the film was its portrayal of marital infidelity in a seemingly positive light. Of course, it's Deconstructed in the ending when Jenna notices Mrs. Pomatter's loving devotion to her husband.