Double Feature

April 2022 - The pandemic has led many of us to do strange things, things that we might not do if not for the pandemic. For me, that means binge-watching re-runs of the ABC show Castle. Star Nathan Fillion can currently be seen on ABC's The Rookie. Co-star Stana Katic has also had a decent post-Castle career. And both have appeared on the big screen.

A couple of years before Castle, Fillion starred in the movie Waitress. Writer/director/actress Adrienne Shelly was murdered about six months before the PG-13 film came out in May 2007. Shelly has a supporting role in a cast that also includes Keri Russell, Cheryl Hines, Jeremy Sisto and Andy Griffith.

Russell plays Jenna, an unhappily married woman who works as a waitress at Joe's Pie Diner. Jenna's unique talent is not waiting tables but concocting delicious pies with fanciful names for any occasion. As the film opens, Jenna learns she is pregnant and quickly thinks up a recipe for "Bad Baby Pie."

Although she's not happy about being pregnant, Jenna plans to have the baby. She meets Dr. Pomatter (Fillion), the new OB/GYN in town, and the two quickly start an affair. At the same time, Jenna is trying to save enough money to leave her controlling husband (Sisto). She gets some help in this department from Joe (Griffith), the curmudgeonly owner of the diner.

Overall review: Liked it. A quirky, likeable movie with quirky, likeable characters. Russell is in nearly every scene and does a good job of carrying the movie. The supporting actors flesh out their roles well, creating full characters despite limited screen time. Andy Griffith, especially, is a treat.

Speaking of limited screen time, Stana Katic shows up for just a few minutes in The Double, a 2011 thriller starring Richard Gere and Topher Grace. Martin Sheen has a supporting role in this PG-13 flick that tried to prove that the Cold War still had some heat.

Gere plays retired CIA agent Paul Shepherdson. He's coaxed out of retirement when a US Senator is murdered and signs point to an elusive Soviet assassin named Cassius as the killer. Shepherdson asserts his belief that Cassius is dead, but an up-and-coming FBI agent named Ben Geary (Grace) insists the murder bears all the hallmarks of Cassius. Shepherdson and Geary are ordered to work together to identify Cassius, find him and bring him to justice – a mission that ultimately puts both men in danger and forces each to make a life-changing decision.

Overall review: Ehhh, it was OK. Gere and Grace make this a watchable film due to the fact that it's not hard to become invested in their characters. However, the plot is convoluted and has lots of holes that become obvious if you think about them for too long. I also don't know why Stana Katic agreed to do this movie. Maybe a lot of her scenes were cut out. Maybe she just wanted to meet Richard Gere. Either way, you would think that her work on Castle would have earned her a better role and more screen time than she gets here.