In “Waitress” (May 2) Nathan Fillion plays the funny-Valentine love object of Keri Russell’s pie-baking genius, and does it so deftly you wonder why more directors of romantic comedy haven’t snapped him up. The last film by Adrienne Shelly, who was murdered in her Greenwich Village office last November, “Waitress” spices its humor with some decidedly tangy elements. For one thing the romance between Ms. Russell and Mr. Fillion is highly inappropriate, yet he carries it off with a light touch, quirky enough to feel just right.
A married ob-gyn who sleeps with an unhappy patient? Yikes. What’s funny about that? Mr. Fillion is, not least because he’s so good at looking blindsided by Jenna’s beauty and charm. When she suddenly leaps into his arms, he catches her with the stunned look of a man who can’t believe his luck. But that’s all he does.
No face-pulling or exaggerated double takes. Mr. Fillion is funny precisely because he’s a minimalist. His double takes are so tiny they’re a joke in themselves. His quiet just-folks presence on screen is a magnet; you watch to see what he’s up to.
Among the things Mr. Fillion lets us see before the movie ends is the subtle fault line — selfishness — in this sweet and caring man. It’s not a lot of selfishness, just a little. Kind of like sneaking a second piece of pie. – Karen Durbin
- Source: The New York Times