By: John Delia
Not the best comedy I’ve watched, the movie Table 19 unfortunately has a dull script that may have been a good idea, but just doesn’t work. The direction and the comedic scenes are not funny and the cast of well-known actors are off kilter. Even the chemistry between the leads just isn’t there. It’s about a wedding reception gone wrong for a forlorn guest that just can’t come to grips with having been rejected and that’s more drama than this comedy can handle.
The wedding vows over at the chapel and the guests file into the reception hall, including Eloise (Anna Kendrick). She’s the ex-maid of honor to her long time best friend Francie Milner (Rya Meyers), the bride. She was ousted in that role when Teddy (Wyatt Russell), Francie’s brother, broke up with her. Slowly sauntering into the ballroom, she goes to Table 19 that was preselected for her and the other guests she will soon meet. You can easily see Eloise isn’t sure she really wants to be there.
Table 19 has been set up for those who were not expected to reply to the wedding. Already at the table are the Kepps: Jerry (Craig Robinson) and Bina (Lisa Kudrow). They are business acquaintances the Milners. There is Jo Flanagan (June Squibb) who are Francie and Teddy’s former nanny. Also there is Walter Thimple (Stephen Merchant) who is a distant cousin that lives in a halfway house. Finally, there is Rezno Eckberg (Tony Revolori) who is a sexually immature teenager who shares a friendship with the groom’s family.
Taking her seat, Eloise looks around the room and sees what could have been if she would have been the Maid of Honor. The film moves along at a fast pace in this silly little comedy with several side situations cropping up involving her reception table mates. Director Jeffrey Blitz has a lot of fun with his film, as you can see from the actors who look like they are ad libbing in a lot of scenes.
But Blitz tries to grow the laughter of a Bridesmaids or Wedding Crashers yet the silliness of those films just doesn’t happen with Table 19. Belly laughs are completely absent and “surprise” attempts are readily seen coming early on making the movie very predictable. In some cases, the jokes don’t work, especially between married couple the Kepps who deliver more downers that lack comic banter. Although, I do like Lisa Kudrow when she shows her carefree self in the film Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion and TV’s “Friends.”
Saving the film from utter disaster, Stephen Merchant gives his very goofy character Walter Thimple a top notch workout picking up the pieces of this very dry comedy. He’s living in a halfway house after being released from prison on embezzlement and his bunk-mate’s a real looser. The expressions on his Merchant’s face are priceless, especially when his bunk-mate climbs up onto the top bunk…Well, I won’t give it away, but it’s my only enjoyable raucous laugh from the film.
Table 19 has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA for thematic elements, sexual content, drug use, language and some brief nudity. Be cautious when deciding to allow immature children see the film as it does have some scenes that are inappropriate for youngsters.
FINAL ANALYSIS: Maybe for a girl’s night out, but that’s pushing it. (D)