AGORA
: Dragged from her chariot by a mob of fanatical vigilante Christian monks, the revered astronomer was stripped naked, skinned to her bones with sharp oyster shells, stoned and burned alive as possibly the first executed witch in history. A kind of purge that was apparently big business back then.


CRITICAL WOMEN HEADLINES

11/21/07

Waitress On DVD: Girl Homage By Slain Director To Savory, Sassy And Self-Effacing Southern Women

By Prairie Miller

If the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, then the late Adrienne Shelly has succeeded with uncommon grace and warmth in covering all bases with Waitress. Queens born writer, director, co-star, and original Hal Hartley screen muse Shelly's last film just before being brutally murdered this past November, is a wacky homage to the frustrated hopes of blue collar women that seduces the audience with scrumptious pie recipes as creative expression of thwarted lives.

Keri Russell is Jenna, the small town Southern beauty stuck in virtual captivity by her controlling and abusive husband Earl (Jeremy Sisto). Jenna buries her pain in turning out tempting pies at the local diner where she works, along with her mutually supportive friendships with fellow waitresses, sassy Becky (Cheryl Hines) and shy, self-effacing Dawn (Adrienne Shelly).

When Jenna finds herself pregnant in a loveless marriage after Earl gets her drunk one night, she visits the handsome new gynecologist in town, Dr. Pomatter (Nathan Fillion). In a most unusual case of two for the price of one, Jenna gets prenatal care along with lots of lusty tender loving care from the very married but smitten doc. A rare girl homage to the vulnerability and victimhood of the 'other woman,' rather than the usual male guilty-free pleasure demonization telegraphed by male directors and critics alike, dealing with their own dubious baggage.

And when words fail to evoke the often indescribable lunacy, the eloquent savory pies speak for themselves. 'I Don't Want Earl's Baby Pie: made of scrambled eggs with a smoked ham center.' Or, 'I Can't Have No Affair Because I Don't Want Earl To Kill Me Pie: done up with custard meringue - hold the banana.' A calorie-free delectable treat of a movie.

Fox Home Entertainment
Rated PG-13
4 stars

DVD Features: Audio Commentaries by producer Michael Roiff and star Keri Russell; Behind The Scenes: This Is How We Made Waitress Pie, Fox Movie Channel Presents: In Character with Keri Russell, Fox Movie Channel Presents: In Character with Cheryl Hines, and Fox Movie Channel Presents: In Character with Nathan Fillion; Documentary: Written and Directed by Adrienne Shelly: A Memorial; Featurettes: Hi! I'm Keri, I'll Be Your Waitress, The Pies Have It!, and A Message from Keri Russell about the Adrienne Shelly Foundation.

Prairie Miller

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