Waitress’ is a slice of summer movie heaven

Christian Blauvelt

Like the sweetly satisfying smell of a baking pie, director Adrienne Shelly’s latest film “Waitress” makes the mouths of quality-starved film lovers water. After an initial summer offering of overcooked, not-quite-digestible blockbusters, “Waitress” quenches our thirst for original storytelling with strong characters and leisurely pacing. “Waitress” stars Keri Russell as Jenna, an entrapped pie baker who feels suffocated by her oppressive, spoiled-brat of a husband and a town with few outlets for her dreams. Her one great talent is her ability to concoct whimsical pies reflecting her current state of mind. She dreams of entering a $25,000 pie contest, but her husband Earl won’t let her. To make matters worse, she gets pregnant. She might as well have a ball-and-chain around her ankle, for how this baby will shackle her to Earl. But Jenna does have a few rays of hope: The kindly new doctor in town offers a romantic escape from her mundane routine, and the elderly Joe, owner of Joe’s Pie Diner, where Jenna works, takes an interest in her future and encourages her to “start fresh.” Most summer Hollywood films have teenage males in mind as their target audience, with all the loud special effects, endless action scenes, and disturbing, casual sexism. “Waitress” sheds those misogynistic tendencies, providing a movie for young female viewers that deals realistically with the problems and struggles of women in small town America, without patronizing them with romantic-comedy clich