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article imageReview: ‘Table 19’ needed a better wedding planner Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Mar 5, 2017 in Entertainment
‘Table 19’ squanders a great cast by giving them a cliché-riddled script with incomplete characters that share the potential for an even more enjoyable movie.
For the single and newly single, a wedding invitation can be a source of stress and trepidation… what to wear, whether or not to bring a guest and the dread of everyone asking about your non-existent special someone. While copious amounts of alcohol seems like a good idea at first, it can often make the already awkward situation worse. The best and most difficult approach involves plastering a smile on your face and handling every inappropriate comment with grace — and, if possible, humour. But as Table 19 demonstrates, being seated in the dead zone doesn’t help matters.
Each of the people seated at Table 19 at Francie Milner’s (Rya Meyers) wedding has different reactions to receiving the invitation, ranging from confusion to exaltation. Bina and Jerry Kepp (Lisa Kudrow and Craig Robinson) are restaurant owners who loosely know Francie’s father so they’re not sure why they were included… especially when they’re not seated with the rest of his associates. Jo Flanagan (June Squibb) was Francie’s childhood nanny who is ecstatic to have been remembered on such a special occasion so many years later — no matter where she’s sitting. Renzo Eckberg (Tony Revolori) RSVP’s yes without knowing a soul because his mother (Margo Martindale) assures him weddings are a great place to lose his virginity. Walter Thimple (Stephen Merchant) is the black sheep of the family hoping the invitation means he is being brought back into the fold. And last is Eloise McGarry (Anna Kendrick) who was the maid of honour and recently dating the bride’s brother, Teddy (Wyatt Russell), until the latter ended and effectively terminated her position in the wedding party.
While everyone at table 19 is working through some personal issues, Eloise is clearly at the centre of the drama, unintentionally unleashing her pain on her tablemates via a detailed description of their location’s status and place in the guest hierarchy. The Kepp’s marriage is in a years-long slump and although they seem to share each other’s humour, their jokes are becoming more pointed. Jo just wants to know she’ll be remembered by someone other than her dog, while Renzo’s social awkwardness and fur bowtie makes approaching women of any age difficult. Walter, in the meantime, is unsurprisingly the centre of the film’s comedy, trying desperately not to reveal his recent troubles to a group of strangers.
Eloise has a whirlwind evening that her tablemates eventually help her through. After confronting Teddy, she meets a handsome stranger that convinces her there may be a better life waiting after the wedding. Twilight revelations shine a new light on circumstances, which continue to evolve as more things are ruined and others are repaired. Most of these disasters and solutions are quite cliché — right up to the “twist” ending — but the likeable, perfectly selected cast makes it all bearable.
While the Duplass brothers’ script is funny and occasionally heartfelt, the most unfortunate aspect of this strong ensemble is the failure to give each of their characters sufficient time to develop; this causes them to feel superficial and unfinished… a problem no amount of good acting or casting can overcome.
Director: Jeffrey Blitz
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Lisa Kudrow and Craig Robinson
More about Table 19, Anna Kendrick, Lisa kudrow, Craig robinson, Stephen merchant
 
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