"Welcome to purgatory." The bartender Chris Calloway greets a new server on her first day at a new job. J.T. McClure's is a typical New York eatery and the setting for the film Restaurant. Adrian Brody stars as Chris an aspiring playwright, bartending to pay the bills. Most of the staff at McClure's hope to get their break into the New York theatre scene. The staff is made up of wannabe actors, hopeful singers, servers who want to be bartenders. Only the cooks seem happy to be cooking. Watching this movie, my only hope was for it to be over.
The basic plot involves Chris' budding relationship with his new girlfriend. His attempt to get over his ex. The strain of a long time friendship as one party evolves and the other does not. The hate between a once friend now enemy . Some heavy themes are explored, racism, infidelity, love, alcoholism, birth and death. Unfortunately the drama de-evolves into that of soap opera that the characters themselves deplore. Aspiring Broadway players, above acting in a soap opera ,acting out movie of the week scenarios with sudsy vim. Don't get me wrong the actors do a fine job of playing their parts but some of the lines they are forced to deliver are so heavy handed a martini would be hard to shake.
The portrayal of how restaurants run is adequate but not great. Things in the kitchen are a little too quiet but the comradery is represented well. The asshole guest is shown but a little confusingly. One interesting scene depicts a job interview where the applicant is actually chewing gum, blowing bubbles and playing a ghetto blaster. He gets the job though, it's tough to get dish washers.
I have seen worse movies . I've seen better movies. Niether heaven nor hell, I found restaurant to be like purgatory.
This is the story of a bunch of 20 somethings, going through life in the service industry. Some have goals, aspirations and dreams and don't intend to wait tables or tend bar forever, and some are stuck before they even get started and will likely never break free. This movie accurately depicts the affects of substance abuse, which is rampant in the restaurant industry. Another issue this film touches on is the racial (and anti-gay) sentiments of a generation of blacks and whites trying desperately to not be their parents, and having it bubble to the surface nonetheless.
It's 2010 and I'm seeing this movie for the first time, now I don't want to age myself, but one of the first things I noticed was how old school it was and I have to say, it brought back memories. The cook reads a bill and yells "who the fuck WROTE this?" Oh yes, handwritten chits...some of you kids wouldn't know what that was like, but us old coots remember all too well, not to mention verbally ordering at the bar...no printers, no chits, no POS touch screen terminals. I feel that accuracy is always in the details, and Restaurant nails a few, such as a cook can always bribe a waiter with steak, with honey mustard peppercorn, of course, cooks doing double duty as security and nightly after work house parties. There are tales of love, relationships, free and charged easy sex and infidelity which are all plentiful in the service industry.
The acting and writing in this flick are fairly decent, my only criticism would be for the two lead characters, Chris and Jeanine. Their relationship was a bit flat, unbelievable and seemed forced. Plus, I could have done without Jeanine's super long singing scene, although I did get a kick out of the cheesy 90's karaoke footage of couples on beaches and in parks. The supporting cast on the other hand were really well acted, with some of my favourites being Nancy the one woman party and Reggae, the stoner line cook, who are both headed for the same tragic end...lonely, drunken lifers.
I had to watch this movie a couple of times, because I foolishly tried to watch it the first time after a few cocktails and found it dull as shit, but I did enjoy it more when I watched it the second time. The pacing is a bit slow and it's more of an artsy flick where nothing really happens, just situations and circumstances, both funny and tragic. It's a good story revolving around a restaurant...I'll give it a 3.0!