One of the most important details of a wedding is the seating chart. The closer the bride and groom are to the guest, the closer their table is to the action. Now, what happens with guests who sort of know the bride or groom? Those folks get relegated to the back of the room, where no one would notice if they went missing, let alone know if they were having a good time. The film Table 19, is about the ‘forgotten guests’ experiences at a wedding.
First off, any movie that comes around Oscar time is pretty much a studio’s throw away film. It’s not a summer blockbuster or a holiday hit, it’s a movie that is lucky to have made it to theaters instead of the straight-to-DVD bin. I went into this with that mind frame, zero expectations, I found it to be comical and a decent film.
The dreaded Table 19 consists of a rag-tag group of ‘nobodies’. Eloise (Anna Kendrick) was suppose to be the maid of honor but after getting dumped over the text by the bride’s brother Teddy (Wyatt Russell) she relinquishes those duties. She still musters the courage to show up as a guest and is designated to the back. When she arrives, no one seems to pay any attention to her and she soon realizes that she is at Table 19. The table she refers to as, “the people who should have known better, not to come.”
Seated at the table are Bina (Lisa Kudrow) and Jerry Kepp (Craig Robinson), a couple who own a diner the bride of the father frequents, Walter (Stephen Merchant), a cousin of the bride who lives in a halfway house, Jo (June Squibb) the bride’s childhood nanny, Renzo (Tony Revolori), a friend of the family who got randomly invited and was forced to go alone by his mother so that he could meet someone and lose his virginity. To say that this table is random and odd is an understatement. Eloise immediately knows who everyone at the table is because she helped the bride put together the seating chart. Together the group bands around Eloise’s constant misfortunes and try to cheer her up.
At the wedding, Eloise does meet a handsome mysterious wedding crasher named Huck (James Cocquerel) and sparks fly, she manages to dance with him and make Teddy a little bit jealous. By the way, that actor totally looked like a Hemsworth, who is this guy, he needs to be famous?!
What happened from here is a bit of a disjointed mess. I thought it would be a predictable rom-com, but it turned out to have some depressing undertones to it. I did find it funny though, and found myself laughing throughout the whole film. It was the sheer craziness of the movie that I found entertaining.
Kendrick plays that bumbling, kooky, cute girl persona she seems to do in every movie, and it works for this type of genre. Merchant was probably the funniest character; I loved his dry pan attitude and way of delivering lines. Squibb is a great actress and this role left her playing almost a caricature of herself. Robinson was underused; he is comical yet, barely had any funny scenes in the film. Instead, his scenes were glib and sad.
I felt that this movie took every wedding movie cliché in the book and threw it in for good measure. I found it irritating that it used 80’s songs; literally the same exact ones from The Wedding Singer. I mean come on, they could have gotten a little more inventive, I thought Adam Sandler might appear at any moment in his 80’s blazer and sing Love Stinks. Heck, the chicken dance song could have been fresher!
This is the kind of movie that you watch at home in your pajamas, when there is nothing else to watch on TV. And yes, I found it way more entertaining than 50 Shades Darker, but that isn’t too hard to beat, right?
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Lisa Kudrow, Craig Robinson, Tony Revolori, Margo Martindale, Stephen Merchant, Carlos Aviles, June Squibb
Directed by: Jeffrey Blitz
Written by: Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass
MPAA rating: PG-13
Running time: 87 minutes