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(2005) * 1/2 R
93 min. Lions Gate. Director: Rashid Masharawi. Cast: Areen Omari.

Waiting... is a movie for young people, and they're welcome to it. Anyone older than teenage already will have seen every joke in Waiting... in more finely crafted, funnier movies. Those movies, however, didn't have Andy Milonakis in them.

With grainy images and muddy audio, the cheaply produced Waiting... unfolds the story of 24 hours in the life of Shenanigans, a Bennigan's-style franchise restaurant with a middle-aged loser (David Koechner) for a manager, sociopaths for cooks and busboys (Luis Guzmán, Dane Cook, Chi McBride, and Milonakis among them), and a young waitstaff that's "waiting" for something better to come along.

As smug statutory rapist Monty, Ryan "Van Wilder" Reynolds prolongs his series of heroic, devil-may-care, frat-friendly boy-men (at the centers of weak comedies). While pondering whether or not to sleep with 17-year-old hostess Natasha (Vanessa Lengies), Monty works alongside unimpressed ex Serena (Anna Faris), best buddy Dean (Justin Long), Dean's girlfriend Amy (Kaitlin Doubleday), and angry stress-case Naomi (Alanna Ubach). Writer-director Rob McKittrick defines one character, Robert Patrick Benedict's Calvin, almost entirely by his shy bladder (okay, he's also shy with women).

Though Reynolds does the comedic heavy-lifting, Long is the central character, who must decide whether or not to commit to his girlfriend and, more importantly, to a newly offered position as assistant manager of Shenanigans. Dean clearly has greater potential (if only, as his mother unsubtly hints, he'd apply himself), but he also enjoys the free-spirited, party-every-night lifestyle of his workmates.

The employees participate in a "ball-busting" game that involves flashing their genitalia at one another. Serena describes the game as "an exercise in retarded homophobic futility," and although the film could be described the same way, former restaurant employee McKittrick clearly has affection for his outré characters.

Still, I sided with trainee Mitch (John Francis Daley of Freaks and Geeks), who takes the film up a notch with a climactic monologue about the hatefully stupidity of the Shenanigans staffers. The ultimate message of Waiting... is as obvious as the film's tired shock/jock humor: "Don't fuck with the people who handle your food."

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