Rating: 2 out of 5
Setting your movie in a restaurant is as close to punting as it gets in moviedom. Someone does it every couple of years (1998: Restaurant, 2000: Dinner Rush), and today they have all blended together into one enormous plate of mashed potatoes and warmed-over gravy.
And while I can understand how laziness can motivate a writer/director to base yet another movie on waitstaff working thankless jobs in a restaurant while dreaming of lives on the outside (just imagine how big the audience of waiters and waitresses must be!), I can't begin to fathom why he'd title that film In the Weeds -- and why a studio like Miramax would allow that title to stick on the eventual straight-to-DVD release that occurs five years after the film's production.
At least the instinct to keep the movie out of theaters was a wise one: In the Weeds is probably the worst of the restaurant movies I've seen over the last decade. Despite an engaging cast that includes Molly Ringwald, Joshua Leonard (Josh from The Blair Witch Project), Ellen Pompeo, and Bonnie Root, the script is so ascerbic and unfunny that we're given no chance to connect with the characters.
Most of the movie tries to illuminate the fact that restaurants are crappy places to work: A cruel chef threatens to kill everyone else who works there. The boss (Eric Bogosian) demands perfection. An asshole diner (Peter Riegert) requests outrageous treatment (six ice cubes exactly!). We get the picture.
This might be OK if the "good guys" (that is, the waitstaff) had something going for them. But amid all the usual cinematic restaurant shenanigans (The ring is in the wrong creme brulee!), why should we care about the personal struggles of these equally cantankerous waiters and waitresses? An aspiring actor who can't get a part, a model who can't get a job, and a playwright who can't get his production staged?
Welcome to the real world, folks.
Facts and Figures
Run time: 91 mins
In Theaters: Sunday 11th June 2000
Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5
IMDB: 6.1 / 10
Cast & Crew
Director: Michael Rauch
Producer: Peter Glatzer
Screenwriter: Michael Rauch
Starring: Joshua Leonard as Adam, Molly Ringwald as Chloe, Ellen Pompeo as Martha, Michael B. Silver as Marlon, Sam Harris as Jonathan, Eric Bogosian as Simon, John Paul Pitoc as Chris, Bonnie Root as Becky, Kirk Acevedo as Kurt, Godfrey as Stan, Peter Riegert as Barry, Caroleen Feeney as Alice, Bridget Moynahan as Amy, Lenny Citrano as Jack, Rene Millan as Hector