By Leslie C. Halpern
The bride placed this table of misfits in the back of the hotel ballroom to keep them away from the bridal party and out of the limelight, but some personalities just can’t be suppressed.
These particular personalities revolve around ex-maid of honor Eloise (Anna Kendrick) a young woman whose boyfriend (and the best man/brother of the bride) Teddy (Wyatt Russell) broke up with her by text after a two-year romance. The other motley tablemates consist of the always-awkward Walter (Stephen Merchant), recently released from prison and living in a halfway house, and the bride’s former nanny, Jo (June Quibb), a clueless old-timer who thinks she’s at a special table for treasured guests. Completing the group are a relentlessly horny high schooler (Tony Revolori) and a bickering married couple (Craig Robinson and Lisa Kudrow) who do business with the bride’s father.
Their Lowly Status at Table 19
In case the group has any doubts, Eloise – quick to speak before she thinks – immediately informs them of their lowly status at the reception and of her own situation as the former insider who’s now an outcast. She passionately kisses a handsome stranger, freaks out when Teddy makes a toast, and vomits into a napkin. Few actresses could make it through scenes like this without losing the audience’s sympathy, but Kendrick (The Hollars) manages to stay likable.
On the other hand, Teddy and his “new” girlfriend (Amanda Crew as his first love) are far less likable. He’s a shaggy, ill-spoken screw-up who reunites with his previous girlfriend – a mean-spirited shrew – at the earliest opportunity. This immature pair actually appears to be better suited to each other than Eloise and Teddy. At least it seems that way for most of the movie until a relatively unimportant detail proves otherwise. A big dramatic scene between Eloise and Teddy as the wedding party prepares to leave for a nighttime cruise excursion feels contrived and unnatural, with uncomfortable dialogue to go with it.
The other warring couple (played by Robinson and Kudrow) has much better lines that actually sound like things people say to each other. Though snarky and unhappy, they reveal real emotion as they hint at the long-felt disappointment in their marriage and the dream of rekindling their lost love. By far not their most challenging roles, Robinson and Kudrow add much-needed depth and authenticity to the movie.
In a script co-written by the Duplass brothers (Jay and Mark), the story brings together people who have nothing in common on the surface – apart from their total disregard by the bridal couple. However, as the movie progresses, similarities underneath the quirks begin to emerge. The group from table 19 leaves the ballroom together, confident their presence will not be missed, and head for Jo’s room in the hotel where her pot is stashed. They bond over shared tales of woe, a ruined wedding cake, and several pratfalls (clearly intended to provide humor the script often lacks).
Though containing a few good laughs, this movie is mostly filled with the “potential” for comedy and a feel-good ending. Overall, Table 19 is a few utensils short of a place setting.
- After simultaneously getting dumped by her boyfriend and relieved of her duties as maid of honor at his sister’s wedding, Eloise attends the big event anyway and finds herself seated at a table of random undesirables near the back of the ballroom.
- Stars: Anna Kendrick, Craig Robinson, June Quibb, Lisa Kudrow, Stephen Merchant, Tony Revolori, Amanda Crew, Wyatt Russell
- Director: Jeffrey Blitz
- Genre: Comedy
- Run Time: 87 minutes
- MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for thematic elements, sexual content, drug use, language and some brief nudity)
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