Directed by Jeffrey Blitz
Written by Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass
As a guest, 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. That is where all the fun activities happening, where everyone looks to always be having the most fun. Now what happens with guests who sort of know the bride or groom and are not part of the inner circle? Those folks get relegated to the back of the room, where no one would really notice if they even went missing, let alone know if they were having a good time. The film Table 19, is about those forgotten guests and their experiences at the 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 is none of these things, instead it is just that; 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, and found it to be comical and a decent film.
The dreaded Table 19 consists of a rag-tag group of nobodies. Eloise (Anna Kendrick) just got dumped by the bride’s brother Teddy (Wyatt Russell) over text, and dropped out as her maid of honor because of this, yet still musters the courage to show up. 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 even 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, where nothing makes sense. 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. I think it was the sheer craziness of the movie that I found so 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. I felt that Robinson was underused, he is a comical and he barely had any funny scenes in the film. His scenes tended to be rather 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 more fresh.
This is the kind of movie that you could watch at home in your pajamas, when there is nothing else to watch on TV. I have to admit though that despite many of its’ flaws, I found it silly and funny to watch. If you find yourself looking for something to stream, check it out on HBO.