Hmm… alright, sign me up. This looks like a cute comedy. From what I can gather, it’s about this woman who’s invited to a wedding that she doesn’t want to go to, but decides to go anyway for… insert reasons here, but gets stuck at this table where the undesired guests of the wedding go, “table 19.” It looks like a simple movie, but still enjoyable. Not much more to say. Moving on.
Let’s take a look at the cast. Starring, we have the unbelievable Anna Kendrick. What can I say about this woman that I haven’t already? She’s one of the most talented actors working today. Whenever I see her name plastered on a poster, I want to see it. I want to see her act the crap out of this movie like a pro. And she always does, even if I’m not a fan of the movie itself. She owns comedy (MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES  and the Pitch Perfect movies), she’s amazing in drama (THE ACCOUNTANT  and UP IN THE AIR ), and a damn wonderful singer (TROLLS  and INTO THE WOODS ). She’s one of the best and is a sweetheart in real life, what more could you ask for? I’m sure there’s a few FRIENDS lovers out there excited to see Lisa Kudrow (NEIGHBORS 2: SORORITY ROW , EASY A , and TV show FRIENDS) in this. I always liked her on screen charisma. I don’t know why I didn’t watch FRIENDS as a kid. Hmm. Beyond that, other talents include Craig Robinson (SAUSAGE PARTY , THIS IS THE END , and TV show BROOKLYN NINE-NINE), Stephen Merchant (LOGAN , THE INVENTION OF LYING , and RUN, FAT BOY, RUN ), Wyatt Russell (EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! , 22 JUMP STREET , and COWBOYS & ALIENS , and will be in the upcoming GOON: LAST OF THE ENFORCERS ), and Tony Revolori (THE 5TH WAVE , DOPE , and THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL , and will be in the upcoming SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING ).
Now for the crew. Directing is Jeffrey Blitz, known for directing TV shows REVIEW and THE OFFICE. Co-writing, we have Jay and Mark Duplass, both are known for JEFF, WHO LIVES AT HOME (2011) and TV show TOGETHERNESS. Composing the music is John Swihart, known for YOUTH IN REVOLT (2009), NAPOLEAN DYNAMITE (2004), and TV show SWITCHED AT BIRTH. Finally, the cinematographer is Ben Richardson, known for THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (2014) and BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD (2012).
Overall, yeah, I’m looking forward to this. I like the cast and it looks pretty funny.
This is my honest opinion of: TABLE 19
Eloise (Anna Kendrick) was once the maid-of-honor to her best friend’s wedding. But after her boyfriend Teddy (Wyatt Russell), who happens to be the bride’s brother, breaks up with Eloise over a text, Eloise is relieved of her position as maid-of-honor and debates whether or not she goes at all, before ultimately deciding to go. She is then seated at the dreaded “table 19” where essentially sit the people who were only invited because they got nice gifts for the happy couple, but were still not the more desirable guests to have around and only loosely know the couple. There, the folks of table 19 begin to unravel secrets and explore their reasons for being at the wedding at all.
Ehh, if you’ve seen any early reviews and ratings for the movie, you’ve probably picked up that this movie isn’t getting well-received. And it’s hard to say, but yeah, this movie isn’t very good. It’s not bad, by any means, but… grr, let’s just dive right into it.
At first glance, depending on how you feel about Kendrick as an actress, the movie starts off almost extraordinarily well. Eloise is looking down at her wedding invitation, running an impressive slew of emotions all in the span of less than thirty seconds, showing heartbreak, confusion, and frustration. Giving Kendrick some serious credit, she knows how to rope in an audience. Her physicality, checking off that she’ll attend the wedding, then scribbling it out to check off that she won’t, then scribbling that out to check that she will attend, and then lighting the invitation on fire, blowing it out and sending it back checked that she’ll go and half burnt. I found that entire few minutes ripe with comedy and brilliant acting from Kendrick.
Even the next bit featuring married couple Bina and Jerry Kepp (Lisa Kudrow and Craig Robinson respectively) isn’t all that bad. They debate whether or not to go while playfully flinging middle fingers at each other. I don’t know, couples that still act immaturely with each other and bust each other’s balls holds a special place in my heart.
But then the first red flags start cropping up and crop up mercilessly. Rezno (Tony Revolori) is this kid that his mom sends off to the wedding alone… all in the name of finding a girl who will get him laid. Something that he doesn’t seem to want. Um… what kind of mother is that invested in her kid’s loss of virginity? And now that I’m thinking about this… is this relationship between Rezno and his mother supposed to be a nod to BIG BANG THEORY? I mean, you have this loser, socially awkward guy who lives with his mother whom you never see, but hear constantly. Funny enough, she’s voiced by Margo Martindale. Seriously, does her face ever appear on screen? And the way he interacts with other people, I’m sorry, no one in real life is this bad at social interaction in a group setting. There’s also Walter (Stephen Merchant). Man, if you told me that Merchant was a good actor, I’d believe you. He was perfectly serviceable in LOGAN, but this was a painful acting job. He is horribly unfunny. Nearly every joke falls flat, with exception of one or two. He is so socially awkward and says every line like he’s trying to hold in a fart. I’m calling it, this was a problem with direction, not the actor. Even Nanny Jo (June Squibb) is really awkward a lot. She just blatantly chats up everyone about nothing. Again, it’s awkward and almost uncomfortable.
To be fair, there are reasons for most everyone at table 19 to be there and for pretty good reasons. Too bad even those good reasons are met with some awful turns in themselves. For example, Eloise is there to support her oldest friend, which is admirable enough. Too bad you never see them interact to get a real sense of their relationship. Hell, Eloise never even talks about her. She can talk up a storm about Teddy, but barely a word about the bride. Bina and Jerry have a rocky marriage now and Bina’s there to enjoy the wedding itself, to see a young couple be in love, while Jerry’s lost all interest in romance. Again, fair enough, but then why blurt out that she came there to have an affair? That seemed needlessly cruel. Especially if she isn’t really going through with it. Thank God for their great chemistry between Kudrow and Robinson, otherwise this would have been pretty unbearable. While we first learn about Jo being a pothead pretty early on, we learn that there’s a reason for that too. She’s got cancer and… yeah, the way she opens up to Eloise about it is pretty heartbreaking. The only characters that get very little development are Walter and Rezno. Rezno is literally just there to get laid and Walter is there… I have no idea why he’s there. He was in prison and he stole 100,000 plus dollars from the father of the bride. It actually make no sense why he’s there.
There’s sadly a lot of other problems too. Most of the jokes don’t work or even make sense sometimes, character motivations don’t always make sense either, the script isn’t especially well-written – seriously, was I supposed to follow Eloise’s rundown of all nineteen tables at this wedding? I forgot tables one through five by the time she got to table six – and some surprisingly shoe-horned and inappropriate slapstick. But by far the worst problem is that the movie goes nowhere for the longest time. No, really, once everyone gets settled in to table 19, nothing really happens. We just hear complaining, shady talk, awkward bantering, and bad jokes. I want to say that this is actually the intention of the movie, that it’s supposed to be kind of laid back and just enjoy the interaction between the characters, but every synopsis for this movie keeps alluding to “secrets being revealed.” Hell, I put that down in my own summary, but I feel like it’s not really true. Nothing about the more antagonistic characters it learned or carries much weight. It’s only with the protagonists, and while Eloise’s secrets carry some weight, it’s kind of mishandled.
So I guess I agree wholeheartedly with the critics and current ratings, huh? Eh, yeah, but whereas the movie is getting generally negative reviews, I just think it’s okay. First off, I do absolutely love Kendrick. She’s consistently likable and enjoyable to watch. And dear shit, that toothy smile of hers ought to be illegal for melting way too many hearts of stone. Damn it, Kendrick, we have a right to be unfeeling and unemotional twats in this world! Stop making us love you! Kudrow and Robinson are pretty good together, and for all their unfunny moments, Squibb and Revolori are pretty good too. Merchant’s the only one that gets the short end of the stick as far as both lines to read and direction… with the exception of:
Wait, Walter, where are you going?
To help with the hors d’oeuvres. They’re understaffed.
I know it’s out of context for you readers, but that was pretty funny. The movie’s only real strength, if you’re forgiving toward the lack of plot-progression and bad jokes, the connections made between the folks of table 19 are actually pretty enjoyable. Just these characters acting like themselves and talking among themselves, they are pretty charming and funny. And the ending is pretty cute.
I don’t think this is a bad movie, but it’s definitely not good. It’s just okay. I can understand where the negativity comes from, but I don’t think I agree with all of that. It has some solid character moments and good acting, but it’s impossible to ignore the jamboree of bad jokes, cringe-worthy writing, terrible character choices, and… that nothing really happens in the movie to advance the story, hence making it pretty forgettable. I say skip it in theatres, but it’s worth a rental. I saw it once, and I’m alright with that.
My honest rating for TABLE 19: 3/5