Waiting… appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The visuals were good enough to merit a “C+“, but some disappointments came along for the ride.
The biggest distraction related to contrast. The movie usually looked too bright, and that gave it a slightly washed-out look much of the time. This wasn’t a tremendous problem, but it made the flick seem somewhat faded. Shadows were too light as well.
Sharpness usually worked fine, though exceptions occurred. Perhaps due to the brightness of the image, some shots took on a mildly ill-defined appearance. I thought much of the movie was acceptably accurate and concise, but not with the consistency I’d like. I noticed no jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement was minimal. I also detected no signs of source defects.
The excessive brightness caused colors to look less vibrant than I’d expect. The movie featured a fairly natural and warm palette, and the hues often looked quite good. Nonetheless, they could appear a little flat at times because of the contrast issues. All of these concerns added up to a pretty mediocre transfer.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Waiting… also wasn’t anything special, though it worked fine for this sort of movie. Music dominated the film, as it presented a never-ceasing assortment of pop/rock tunes. These showed good stereo imaging, and the flick also boasted pretty decent delineation of effects. Not surprisingly, these stayed with general restaurant atmosphere. The forward speakers heavily dominated, though the surrounds occasionally a bit of atmosphere as well. The soundfield stayed modest, and that was fine.
For the most part, audio quality seemed good. I thought speech was less than stellar, however, as the lines often sounded somewhat distant and wooden. No problems with intelligibility or edginess occurred, however, so I didn’t have any major complaints. Music appeared pretty lively and dynamic, and decent bass response came along with those tracks. The effects did absolutely nothing to tax the track, but they were clean and accurate. This was a perfectly adequate soundtrack.
On this two-DVD set, Waiting… provides a surprisingly long roster of extras. Starting on Disc One, we get a collection of 13 Deleted Scenes. These fill a total of seven minutes and six seconds. I’m sure you can do the math and figure out that none of them last very long. The most significant one shows the other waiters as they tell Dean it’s okay for him to take the management job. Otherwise, we find small gags and tidbits that fail to add much.
19 Outtakes/Alternate Takes run a total of 14 minutes, 55 seconds. This offers exactly what the title describes, as we see lots of raw and unused footage. It’s fun for fans of the movie who want to check out different versions of the bits.
A documentary called That Little Extra goes for 19 minutes and two seconds. It mixes behind the scenes bits and interviews. We hear from director Rob McKittrick, co-producer Dean Shull, producer Jeff Balis, production designer Devorah Herbert, and actors Anna Faris, Ryan Reynolds, Alanna Ubach, Andy Milonakis, Dane Cook, Vanessa Lengies, Luis Guzman, David Koechner, Justin Long, John Francis Daley, Kaitlin Doubleday, and Robert Patrick Benedict. “Extra” runs through the project’s origins and development, how McKittrick landed the gig as director and all the problems faced along the path, casting, designing the restaurant, cinematography, the dick-showing game, and the cast’s impressions of McKittrick as a director.
To go with a goofy movie, we get a pretty goofy documentary. Though parts of “Extra” don’t take things particularly seriously, we do learn some nice details about the production. It rushes through the pre-production hurdles, though; I’d have liked more background there. We also don’t get much detail about casting or the other areas. “Extra” does serve as a moderately informative and entertaining overview, though.
In the Soundtrack Preview area, we find samples of three songs featured in the movie. We get snippets of Alternative Champs’ “Gay 90s”, Snatches of Pink’s “Dance”, and The Talk’s “I Started Running”. We also find a notation that indicates we can get the soundtrack on itunes.
DVD One ends with some Trailers. It includes ads for National Lampoon’s Van Wilder and Ultimate Avengers.
Over on Disc Two, we begin with an Expanded Telestrator Commentary with director McKittrick and producer Balis. They sit together for a running, screen-specific chat. Actually, it’s too damned screen-specific, largely due to the telestrator gimmick. I don’t like visual commentaries in general because they add almost nothing to the experience. Telestrator commentaries are worse because they turn into a distraction. The participants worry more about scribbling onscreen than about giving us good notes, and that becomes a nuisance here.
Note that they also pause and even rewind the film at times. This means that the commentary runs longer than the movie’s 94 minutes. The commentary ultimately fills 130 minutes, so expect a lot of times when they pause the movie’s action.
The quality of the material they provide doesn’t do much to redeem the track. We hear about how McKittrick’s experiences influenced the movie, the cast and performances, sets, and various behind the scenes tidbits. Much of the time the guys do little more than tell us what parts of the movie they love; since the answer is pretty much all of it, that gets old. Occasionally we find nice tidbits, especially when we learn the inspirations for various gags. I also like the long discussion of nudity in the film and its portrayal of the female nether regions.
I will admit the commentary improves as it progresses. McKittrick and Balis eventually adapt to the format and they start to offer greater insights. They also bicker a lot, and that adds some amusement. Still, it’s not a terribly good track overall. Despite some good moments, too much of the commentary seems tedious and not very informative.
After this we get a long documentary entitled The Works. It runs a massive 85 minutes, 20 seconds, and it also includes many branching segments. These are optional; hit “enter” when an icon appears onscreen to check out additional tidbits. We find 22 of these, and they add another 60 minutes, 25 seconds of footage. (Note that you can access these separately in the area of the DVD called “Side Dishes”.)
“The Works” includes interviews with McKittrick, Shull, Balis, Herbert, casting director Annie McCarthy, cinematographer Matthew Irving, composer Adam Gorgoni, and actors Dane Cook, John Francis Daley, Andy Milonakis, David Koechner, Justin Long, Jordan Ladd, Max Kasch, Skyler Stone, Robert Patrick Benedict, Kaitlin Doubleday, Alanna Ubach, and Vanessa Lengies. The show covers the origins of the story and how it made its way to the screen, casting and performances, the film’s visual style and cinematography, set design, shooting the kitchen scenes, the flick’s music and its ending rap, relationships among the castmembers and various anecdotes from the shoot, and final thoughts about the movie.
“Works” features some joking around but still gets into plenty of good information. The best parts deal with cast and characters, as it includes lots of fun notes about those areas. The actors definitely come to the forefront here, though it’s too bad folks like Ryan Reynolds and Luis Guzman don’t appear. “Works” also develops just enough about the rest of the production to be informative. The show doesn’t offer a complete recap of the film’s creation, but it gives us a lot of enjoyable and entertaining material.
What do we find in the branching components? These mostly offer tidbits of commentary from various participants. We get remarks from Justin Long, Matthew Irving, Devorah Herbert, Kaitlin Doubleday, Robert Patrick Benedict, Alanna Ubach, Jordan Ladd, Adam Gorgoni, Andy Milonakis, Max Kasch, John Francis Daley, Vanessa Lengies, David Koechner, Dane Cook and Skyler Stone. We also find screentests for Benedict, Ubach, Milonakis, Kasch, John Francis Daley, Stone, Lengies, David Koechner, Dane Cook and “Katelan” Doubleday.
Most of the commentaries play it straight, though Long, Milonakis, Koechner and Cook go for a comedic bent. The different tracks occasionally provide some decent details, but I can’t recall many truly informative notes. The screen tests are much more interesting, as they give us lots of interesting footage.
A short featurette called Sending It Back: The Real Dish on Waiting Tables comes next. The six-minute and five-second piece shows current and former servers as they chat about their experiences. We get notes from Chris Keefe, Barbie Solinsky and Marci Shaklee. They mostly talk about bad customers and attempts at revenge. This ends up as a moderately amusing piece but not anything special.
Despite occasional gags that aptly recreate the experience of restaurant work, most of Waiting… focuses on cheesy toilet humor. There’s a lot of crassness and little actual inspiration. The DVD offers average picture and audio but comes with a wealth of supplements. If you like the movie, this is a good disc, but I can’t recommend it as a blind buy.