After being unceremoniously dumped by text message by the best man at her best friend's wedding, for maid-of-honour Eloise (Anna Kendrick) decides to attend nonetheless. She finds herself seated at Table 19, along with a group of disparate strangers. There is a nanny (June Squibb), a geek (Stephen Merchant), a young boy wanting to score (Tony Revolori) and the world's unhappiest married couple (Lisa Kudrow and Craig Robinson). As secrets are revealed, the group becomes bonded by their problems as the wedding from hell plays out.
Review by Louise Keller:
Table 19 is an uncomfortable place to be. Perhaps it should be uncomfortable, I hear you say? After all, it is a table of 'randoms' at a wedding, positioned far away from everything that is going on. But there is a fatal flaw with the screenplay penned by actor Mark Duplass and his brother Jay. Nothing is credible. The characters, circumstances, action and resolution are cloyingly false. We should engage with the characters and care what happens to them. It should be surprising as well as funny and moving in equal parts. Instead, we are faced with 87 minutes of eye rolling tedium.
Watching Anna Kendrick's Eloise as she deliberates whether or not to attend the upcoming wedding leaves us with no doubt as to the fact that this is going to be an uncomfortable outing. The premise is quickly laid out when we first meet Teddy (Wyatt Russell, suitably unappealing), the cad who has seemingly broken Eloise's heart (or pride) when he broke up with her via text. She knows everyone at the wedding, but the fact that she is relegated to far-away Table 19, speaks volumes about her current status. Could Huck (Thomas Coquerel), the handsome stranger who catches Eloise's eye change everything? We are told she has a reputation for taking things too far.
Clearly, the others seated at the table are also losers. Take Tony Revolori (The Grand Budapest Hotel) and his fur bow tie, for example. He is trying to score - unsuccessfully. Trouble is, his attempts are not funny. Then there is June Squibb (Nebraska) as the former nanny who has a secret stash of marijuana. This character is badly underwritten. Of course there is something untoward about gangly Stephen Merchant (The Office), who professes ad nauseum to be a successful businessman. The laughs wear thin. And what about Lisa Kudrow and Craig Robinson as the ever-bickering married couple who have not had sex in an age, and look as though they should be in another movie? Ironically, theirs is the one relationship that develops in a credible way.
The film could have worked. Kendrick has wonderful timing and a wedding is a great setting for comedic opportunities and tumultuous emotional upheavals. All it needed was a good script that offered credible depth to its characters.
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TABLE 19 (M)
(Finland, US, 2017)
CAST: Anna Kendrick, Wyatt Russell, Lisa Kudrow, Craig Robinson, Tony Revolori, Stephen Merchant, Stephen Coquerel
PRODUCER: Dan Cohen, P. Jennifer Dana, Shawn Levy, Tom McNulty, Mark Roberts
DIRECTOR: Jeffrey Blitz
SCRIPT: Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ben Richardson
EDITOR: Yana Gorskaya
MUSIC: John Swihart
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Timothy David O'Brien
RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 20, 2017