May 2, 2007
On the Big Board
|A genuine heartfelt ode to small towns, pies, illicit love, life, and hope.
|Sweet and charming. Adrienne Shelley will be missed.
|Cute. I think viewers who like this will like Juno and vice versa.
|Pretty good, but uneven in quality and tone.
On November 1, 2006, Hal Hartley favorite Adrienne Shelley was found hanging in her bathroom. Police initially suspected that the actress/writer/director had committed suicide, but a detailed investigation discovered foul play. Diego Pillco, a man working in the apartment below her, confessed that after an argument with Shelley, he had followed her into her home and killed her. Then, he had attempted to make the crime appear to be a suicide in order to avert suspicion away from himself. Pillco is currently awaiting his trial.
With Shelley’s life tragically cut short, Waitress becomes her legacy. The movie starring starring BOP faves Nathan Fillion and Keri Russell was her final project. Taking on the roles of writer and director, Shelley has crafted a tale about an unhappy waitress (Russell) who uses the baking process to express herself. The title character, Jenna, is ready to make a break with her husband, Earl (Jeremy Sisto), who is presumably not the inspiration for that Dixie Chicks song. Her decision is complicated by an unexpected pregnancy.
In an odd twist of fate, this leads to a romantic entanglement when Jenna meets the town’s new gynecologist, Dr. Pomatter (Fillion). Somewhere between the moment she strips down to her underwear and prepares for a forceps-based invasion and the point where he puts on the latex gloves and probes her, doctor and patient fall in love.
By all accounts, Waitress is a fitting end to Shelley’s career. The film was a huge hit at the Sundance Festival, with Fox Searchlight being so enamored with it that they paid $4 million for the rights to domestic distribution. The distributor is heavily playing up the maternal nature of this movie, offering a special "Easy as Pie Mother’s Day" promotion wherein certain theaters will give away free gift bags over the holiday. With a combination of Felicity and Captain Mal Reynolds on board, BOP is quite excited about the sleeper potential for this project. (David Mumpower/BOP)