Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Seconds At ShenaniganZ

In late 2005, a co-worker told me about a movie called "Waiting..." It sounded interesting, so I found a copy and watched it. It was an indie movie that somehow had some big names in the cast, like Chi McBride, Luiz Guzman, Justin Long, Ryan Reynolds, Anna Faris, and Dane Cook. The movie was a "Day In The Life" film about the crew at ShenaniganZ, a fancy restaurant where the unspoken but enforced rule is "Don't f**k with the people who handle your food." In one scene, a female customer feels her right to complain about everything, and her food is shown being tampered with in a most disgusting manner. Her extra gravy is saliva, added garlic salt is actually dandruff, and the added alfalfa sprouts are really pubic hairs.

There's also the running joke of the Game, where the male crew find ways to make each other see their genitalia. (Turns out, this is a real game.)

The film's better feature was actually focusing on character development. There were some who were just funny, like the bipolar and foul-mouthed Naomi, and wannabe rappers Nick and T-Dog, but there were characters who developed. Ryan Reynold's character Monty is obsessed with sex and the hostess Natasha (who is a minor for just one more week), Justin Long's character Dean wants to break out of his rut as a waiter, and when he is offered the assistant manager position, he must decide what he's going to do. And then there's new hire Mitch, who can't seem to finish a sentence.

So, with a movie as clever and humorous and disgusting as that, that also made a large profit on it's release, what do you do next? S-E-Q-U-E-L.


And what do we know about movie sequels? They're very tricky to do CORRECTLY. There are countless sequels to movies that have been huge disappointments. Not all have been bad, but it's rare to find a really satisfying one.

We heard about "Still Waiting" in 2007, and that it would come out in 2008. 2008 came, 2008 went, and no sequel. I heard about test screenings, but that's it. We heard very few of the lead cast would return. Dane Cook, Ryan Reynolds, Anna Faris, and the guy who played Mitch were not returning, and we'd also heard the restaurant they filmed the first one in had been changed into something else.

So, the sequel was released last week on DVD. Because I'm on Netflix, I decided to rent before I bought.

So, apparently, in between the two movies, the original restaurant was closed to health issues (heheh...), and only Nick, Natasha, and Naomi transferred to the new one. Calvin, T-Dog, and Raddimus now work at competing store Ta-Ta's. I guess we assume everyone else (unless I missed noticing some people) found work elsewhere.

So, the new movie starts off with the manager of this new store starting his day. The way it's done feels like a bad parody of parts of the first movie. In fact, a lot of the movie feels like a bad parody of the first movie. (I guess the preview for Disaster Movie on the DVD should have been a tip-off...) So, this ShenanaginZ is struggling to stay afloat with the competition from Ta-Ta's if they can't make $9,000 everyday, they will close.

Nick and T-Dog aren't really friends now, as T-Dog has "matured," and Nick hasn't. This feels weird, because these two were just throw-away characters in the first movie, and now we're psychoanalyzing them? It's a plot line that's not really worth it.

We've got the manager trying to become more popular with women, such a weird plot device. We've got Naomi plastering Ta-Ta's with dog feces because no other place will hire her. Shy Calvin from the first movie is now VERY popular with women. Bishop and Dean appear in extended cameos. Dean's is very disappointing.

We also have a variety of new characters in the crews of ShenanaginZ and Ta-Ta's, but honestly, I found myself not really caring about the new characters. They felt like pale shadows of what I'd already seen in the first movie.

I guess it was filmed well, nice music, well-edited. The acting was decent, but it just made the first movie feel like a classic. By the end, I just wanted it to be over. Not even the Scotsman who's at the end who gets ignored for the nerdy-sounding guy could keep my attention. (And Scots rock.)

I'm glad I rented this. Now I know that I shouldn't buy it.

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