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Let me tell you from experience: When restaurant workers struggle to find the humor in their soul-sucking jobs, they’re not thinking about genitals. Yet those are the primary obsession of writer-director Rob McKittrick’s debut, Waiting…, a behind-the-kitchen-door comedy as funny in concept as it is painful in execution. The film takes place in the chain restaurant Shenaniganz, a clear Bennigan’s ripoff, as Monty (Ryan Reynolds), a sarcastic longtime server, trains Mitch (John Francis Daley, also in TV’s similarly themed Kitchen Confidential) on his first day. The most important thing Monty teaches Mitch isn’t about customer service, though the newcomer does get to watch the team treating a bitchy customer’s steak with dandruff, snot, and—see?—groin sweat. No, instead Mitch learns about “the Game,” a pastime of male Shenaniganz employees (who, horrifyingly, include Luis Guzmán) that involves getting another dude to look at your package, then kicking him in the ass. Strategies of how to accomplish this—as well as frequent actual attempts—dominate the script, along with Monty’s obsession with underage girls. Alas, there’s also some heart to go with all the balls, as community-college-student Dean (Justin Long) gets depressed about his employment and starts rethinking his immediate future, which not-so-tantalizingly includes the possibility of becoming the restaurant’s assistant manager. Dean’s quandary is handled with surprising sensitivity, but most of Waiting…’s 93 minutes are spent on predictable stupidity and raunch. Staffers continuously dropping food on the floor? Check. Busboys getting high all day? Yup. A cook screwing the hostess in the bathroom? But of course. Reynolds, who quirkily embodied another underemployed restaurant staffer in the short-lived ABC series Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place, is (as usual) wasted on the big screen. Ditto for Scary Movie vet Anna Faris, stuck in the role of Monty’s bitchy ex. To be fair, McKittrick at least gets some of the details right: the lingo, the jaded veterans, the binge drinking that tends to take place after long, breakless, physically punishing shifts. But spend some time with his crew and it won’t be long before you’re thinking about the booze, too.

—Tricia Olszewski