Steven Teagle, Lions Gate Films</i>
Alanna Ubach plays Naomi in this obvious rip-off of the film "Clerks."
WAITING . . . — * — Ryan Reynolds, Justin Long, John Francis Daley; rated R (vulgarity, profanity, drugs, sex, brief nudity); see Page W2 for theaters.

"Waiting . . . " is undoubtedly the most shameless movie rip-off to come along in quite some time.

This foul-mouthed, slackers-on-the-job comedy dearly wants to be the 21st-century version of Kevin Smith's 1994 independent hit "Clerks." But the only thing even remotely funny about "Waiting . . . " is that writer-director Rob McKittrick is trying to emulate Smith with snarky, pop-culture-laced dialogue (especially since Smith's filmmaking skills seem to be eroding).

As for McKittrick's first feature, it's an ugly-looking movie with even uglier attempts at humor, and appears to have been shot on home video. With such a miniscule budget, you have to wonder how he attracted a name cast, most of whom play the staff at Shenanigan's, a chain restaurant.

It's the first day on the job for Mitch (John Francis Daley), an eager trainee who's been placed in the care of Monty (Ryan Reynolds), a jaded 20-something who is more concerned with finding underage girls to seduce than with helping out Mitch.

Monty's best friend and roommate, Dean (Justin Long), has his mind on other things. He's just been offered the assistant manager job, but he's afraid he'll wind up like Dan (David Koechner), the restaurant's lecherous and imperious manager.

Other characters receiving significant screen time include Monty's ex-girlfriend (Ana Faris) and Dean's would-be girlfriend (Kaitlin Doubleday), as well as a pair of stoner dishwashers (Max Kasch and Andy Milonakis) who are obviously modeled on Smith's Jay and Silent Bob characters.

But the constant presence is Reynolds, who's clearly trying to mimic Jason Lee's know-it-all routine from another of Smith's movies, "Mallrats." Unfortunately, he's not as endearing as Lee and quickly becomes an irritant.

And it's sad to see such talents as Luis Guzman and Chi McBride wasted in dreck like this. Here's hoping the paychecks they got were worth the injury to their dignity.

"Waiting . . . " is rated R for crude sights, gags about and references to sexual and other bodily functions, frequent use of strong sexual profanity, strong drug contact (including marijuana use and references), simulated sex and other sexual contact, and some brief nudity (done for laughs). Running time: 88 minutes.