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RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes
• Deleted Scenes
• Making of featurette
• Commentary track
More language! More jokes! More production values! More tits and ass! Precisely the way God intended sequels to be.
Starring Rob Benedict, Luis Guzman, John Michael Higgins, Alanna Ubach, Steve Howey and Tania Raymonde
Writer: Rob McKittrick
Director: Jeff Balis
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The second go around with the waitstaff at Shenaniganz restaurant ends up a lot like the first: surprisingly enjoyable, though the menu is not meant for everybody . It won’t reinvent the wheel of comedy, but there are enough laughs to be had that it will warrant a glance late at night when you’re hungry but would rather watch other people eat.
Was anyone calling for a sequel to ‘Waiting’? Hmmm? Internet, I’m talking to you. Now, I enjoy the first one; I daresay I probably enjoy it more than I perhaps should, perhaps more than this website legally allows, but even I look at the idea of a sequel as stupid, unnecessary and little more than a cash grab.
So, I walked into this one ready to hate it. I had ridiculous hyperbole all made up and was just waiting to tailor it to the film. There’s no way, NO WAY, this would be a) funny or b) good. So when the credits came up and I found myself grinning and not hating, nay, even enjoying the preceding picture, I was just as shocked as anyone.
Everything in a sequel has to be doubled. This time around we have two restaurants in which to split our attention: Applebee’s-esque Shenaniganz and Hooters-ish TaTas, both owned by the same company, but both different as night and day. To say that TaTas is the more fun place to be in is obviously understating it, but with the exception of the new girl, the TaTa’s half of the storyline is ridiculous, shallow and only interesting when directly compared to Shenaniganz, which is tamer but is at least filled with actors who can deliver a quip or two.
‘Waiting’ worked when it was focused on everyone but the ‘straight man’ (in the form of Justin Long, who carried his role on charisma) and ‘Still Waiting…’ is no different. John Michael Higgins assumes the role of pathetic, still-living-with-mom manager who keeps telling himself that he’ll finally get the girl when he gets the next promotion. The film saddles him with a dull story, featuring an Adam Carolla who out Adam Carolla’s himself in the form of a DVD dating guru, David Koechner reprising his role and a lot of awkwardness. Higgins is at no fault for this, he’s wonderful as the picture perfect representation of middle American store manager, he’s just never given anything interesting to do, as if writer Rob McKittrick only ever comes back to him to give us some form of unearned emotional payoff in the end.
The real fun of ‘Still Waiting…’ of course comes from the ensemble cast of ‘wacky’ characters doing ‘wacky’ things. A few of the original cast members reprise their role, including Rob Benedict, Andy Milonakis and Alanna Ubach; but for the most part it’s an all new crew manning the tables. New in name, but not in function. Not wishing to deviate from a winning formula, the newcomers are saddled into the roles of their (usually superior) originals: Steve Howey is a poor man’s Ryan Reynolds and all of his bigoted humor comes off as just annoying (not to mention his cribbing of a Jason Segal line from ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’), Kirk Fox is the bartender, no he’s not a lesbian, but he might as well be gay, heck even Tania Raymonde (Alex from Lost) fills in the shoes of ‘hot girl with guy problems’ (and she looks great when she’s not on an island). Ultimately, there’s no spark or camaraderie between the actors. ‘Waiting’ might be many bad things, but you can’t say that it wasn’t earnest and fueled with love; here, it’s a paycheck. The old guard remembers some of the magic, but the new guys are a bit clunky and out of place and we look towards the familiar faces, such as Luiz Guzman, to carry us through the film.
The biggest sin the movie commits is nullifying the previous one. The original ‘Waiting’ ended on a note of optimism (and spoil..ah, hell, you don’t care) with Justin Long quitting his job and determined to strike out into the world and become something. He became something alright: a pathetic washup, right back into the managerial system of Shenaniganz. He has the most emotional scenes not because they’re somber and heartfelt, they’re actually quite funny, but because it wasn’t supposed to happen that way and you feel a little betrayed by the creators. Is this what happens to all of us who seeks a new path? We end up right back where we started? Yes, I’m delving beneath the surface of the sequel to motherfucking ‘Waiting’.
The script, written by the original’s scribe, is filled with equal parts quips and sight gags. I wasn’t keeping count, but jokes definitely hit more than they missed, and they manage to come through in spite of some poor delivery from some of the actors.
‘Still Waiting…’ rises above conventional direct to DVD fare. Oh sure, it treads absolutely zero new ground and even makes its older sibling a little more cynical to boot, but there’s enough here to warrant at least a view on Netflix if you enjoyed the original. If you didn’t enjoy the original, everything you didn’t enjoy about it is back times two, so avoid. I laughed, I ‘lol’ed and the best thing I can say about ‘Still Waiting…’ is not that I didn’t hate it (I enjoyed it mostly) but that I would gladly see it again. Check please.
Despite being direct to DVD, the movie comes with a full feature’s worth of appetizers. Plenty of deleted scenes (deleted for a reason), several outtake reels (some funny, some not), a making of featurette and a commentary track from both the writer and director round out the package and give you as much bang for your buck (which certainly won’t be a lot). So enjoy.