Table 19 brings the laughs with wedding losers! Read our movie review now:
It’s a familiar scenario, being invited to a wedding where you barely know anyone there. Either you’re a friend, a distant cousin or the black sheep of the family. You just feel out of place and unsure of what to do or say to anybody. I’ve seen my fair share of these ceremonies where I’d spend nearly the entire evening gorging on the free cake and coffee. Table 19 focuses on the lesser group of guests; the ones that are pushed into a literal corner, invited almost as afterthoughts where the other guests are unsure of why they were invited in the first place. And though the story essentially amounts to the familiar patterns of a rom-com, the central outsiders have a sweetness that makes this uneven picture more charming than it should be.
Eloise (Anna Kendrick) is extremely reluctant to attend the wedding where her ex-boyfriend is the best man. It’s an awkward situation and she’s a rather awkward girl, milling about the wedding and nervously trying not to stand out as a fool. Finding her way to her table, she meets the other weirdo guests that more-or-less don’t want to be there.
There’s the nanny of the bride Jo (June Squibb), approaching the wedding with a sweet heart, but also a knowing intelligence for when things turn south. The Kepp couple (Craig Robinson, Lisa Kudrow) is on shaky ground with their marriage that whiffles between a comfortable bitterness and unhappy desires. Walter (Stephen Merchant) is a tall and shy fellow that wants to drink and talk about anything except him. Teenager Renzo (Tony Revolori) is hoping to get laid at the wedding, taking the awkward advice of his mother that he’ll have a better shot here than at his high school prom.
As the joyous wedding continues in the background, the guests of Table 19 play a detective game of trying to figure out the motives of each other. All of them hold some dark secret, preferring not to reveal them. I’d almost prefer they not reveal their secrets either as the characters of this table are amusing enough without the mystery. The build-up to the grand reveal of Eloise’s real reason for being at the wedding and where the Kepps actually stand on their marriage is nowhere near as entertaining as the movie makes their arcs out to be. So uninvolving are these secrets that characters will blurt out the secret once they put the pieces together, akin to the annoying audience member that spoils an M. Night Shyamalan movie.
While the mystery angle is incredibly weak in nailing down the characters, the film is at its strongest when they’re are just hanging out in between scenes of knocking over cakes and feeling terrible about themselves. In one of the most pleasing moments of the picture, the entire group decides to ditch the wedding and go get high in Jo’s hotel room. There’s no trippy visions they experience or extreme munchies for the minibar; everyone seems calm, charming and at ease. It’s that little golden moment of indie comedies where the characters feel both real and amusing.
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