Whether you’ve ever worked in a restaurant for a day, a week, a month, or a year – or have ever eaten in a restaurant – there’s something in this movie that will strike a chord with you.
The bulk of the movie centers on a single day at a restaurant called Shenaniganz (that has a somewhat striking resemblance to the Bennigan’s Grill & Tavern chain). The central characters are Monty (Ryan Reynolds – The Amityville Horror, Van Wilder) and Dean (Justin Long – Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Galaxy Quest), two best friends who haven’t really found a purpose and have settled in to waiting tables and partying every night after work with all their friends from work, along with anyone else who may show up.
Rounding out the restaurant staff is Serena (Anna Faris – Brokeback Mountain, Scary Movie series), Raddimus (Luis Guzmán – Punch Drunk Love, Traffic), Bishop (Chi McBride – Boston Public, Undercover Brother), Mitch (John Francis Daley – Boston Public, Freaks and Geeks), Amy (Kaitlin Doubleday – Catch Me If You Can), Calvin (Robert Patrick Benedict – Felicity, Not Another Teen Movie), Naomi (Alanna Ubach – Meet The Fockers, Legally Blonde), Natasha (Vanessa Lengies – American Dreams), and Dan (David Koechner – The Dukes of Hazzard, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy).
Monty is saddled with the task of training a new employee, Mitch. Monty takes the task to heart and gives Mitch the full tour of the restaurant, including the dumpsters and stock areas, and fills him in on all of the nuances of working at Shenaniganz, as opposed to just any other restaurant. You see, to work at Shenaniganz, you have to be willing to expose your genitalia. But, not just random exposure – there is a specific art and technique that must be applied. Monty turns Mitch over to Raddimus for the specific details of “The Game.”
Bishop, the dishwasher, is the resident go-to amateur psychotherapist who seems to have a deep, philosophical answer for everyone’s dilemma, even though it is delivered in a rather rough presentation. The message still manages to get the point across to everyone, with the exception of Naomi. Alanna Ubach’s Naomi is one angry waitress. Nothing, absolutely nothing, pleases this girl.
Dean is dealing with some self-esteem issues after his mother tells him that a schoolmate, who was in all of the same accelerated honors classes with him in high school, has just graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering, while Dean is still plugging along four years later taking a class here and a class there, still in community college. Dean’s girlfriend, Amy, is feeling a bit misunderstood as well since Dean is preoccupied with his own insecurities.
The movie had real potential, especially with the great ensemble cast and the Clerk-esque-type slacker script. The malice that flowed for rude customers, poor tippers, and the whole restaurant industry was translated well to the screen by writer/director Rob McKittrick, but he seemed to get side-tracked from a streamlined satire by tossing in too many subplots and gags. The movie started off rather slow, had some good moments tossed in the middle, but ended up lost in mediocrity by the end.
The 2-disc DVD Deluxe Edition contains plenty of special features including: The Works: All Access Interactive Video Commentary, Sending It Back: The Real Dish on Waiting Tables, “That Little Extra” Documentary, Expanded Telestrator Commentary, Deleted Scenes, Outtakes, Alternate Takes, and Trailers.