An obvious but undeniably funny mix of NATIONAL LAMPOON'S ANIMAL HOUSE and CLERKS, writer-director Rob McKittrick's feature debut is a comedy for those without a gag reflex and for shut-ins who never plan to eat in a restaurant ever again. Your waiter for this evening at Shenaniganz, a popular chain restaurant not unlike Bennigan's, will be Monty (Ryan Reynolds), a suave, good-looking charmer with a taste for young ladies — think ANIMAL HOUSE's Otter. He's asked by his manager, Dan (David Koechner), to show trainee Mitch (John Francis Daley) the ropes. Monty's crash course in the fine art of waiting tables begins with frightening the newbie into thinking all male waiters are predatory homosexuals (scary!). Then Mitch learns the rules of "Show Your Penis," an ongoing game in which Shenaniganz' male employees trick each other into glimpsing one another's genitalia, then call the victim a "fag." Monty then introduces Mitch to the rest of the waitstaff: Monty's ex-girlfriend, Serena (Anna Faris), and her equally blonde friend, Amy (Kaitlin Doubleday); chronically pee-shy Calvin (Robert Patrick Benedict); and burnt-out Naomi (LEGALLY BLONDE's Alanna Ubach), whose fake smile is even scarier than her sincere psycho scowl. In the kitchen we have head chef and "Show Your Penis" expert Raddimus (Luis Guzman); sous-chef Floyd (stand-up genius Dane Cook); dweeby, gangsta-wannabe busboys T-Dog and Nick (Max Kasch, Andy Milonakis); and dishwasher Bishop (Chi McBride), who parcels out cryptic wisdom like a samurai sensei. If this willfully sophomoric comedy, which unfolds over the course of one day's double shift, could be said to have a moral center, it's Monty's best friend, 22-year-old Dean (Justin Long), who's trying to decide whether to accept a position as an assistant manager. Even though his life as a waiter is going nowhere fast, Dean is afraid of winding up a self-important loser like Dan. Following the same strategy used in THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN, McKittrick disingenuously slips in snatches of homophobic humor by putting all the dumb gay jokes into the mouths of obvious morons, then asking his audience to laugh along with them anyway. But in the end, the film is really all about turning stomachs by showing everything you always feared went on in restaurant kitchens. Steaks sent back by nasty customers are garnished with pubic hair and salted with dandruff; loogies are added to the mashed potatoes instead of extra gravy; and any one inconsiderate enough to show up five minutes before closing is treated to an entrée that conveniently lands on the dirty kitchen floor but still qualifies as dinner, thanks to the strictly enforced five-second rule. You'll laugh and hate yourself for it.
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- Released: 2005
- Rating: R
- Review: An obvious but undeniably funny mix of NATIONAL LAMPOON'S ANIMAL HOUSE and CLERKS, writer-director Rob McKittrick's feature debut is a comedy for those without a gag reflex and for shut-ins who never plan to eat in a restaurant ever again. Your waiter for… (more)