Running Time: 87 Minutes
Director: Jeffrey Blitz
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Stephen Merchant, June Squibb, Lisa Kudrow
(Movie House Cinemas preview screening)
Eloise, having been relieved of maid of honor duties after being unceremoniously dumped by the best man via text, decides to attend the wedding anyway, only to find herself seated with five fellow unwanted guests at the dreaded Table 19.
“The table of people they don’t care about!”
With their prime casts and indie flavours I’ve always been kind to films from Fox Searchlight Pictures, I’ve given them some leeway were other viewers mightn’t have: after all this is the studio behind Little Miss Sunshine, one of the funniest road movies ever and it didn’t even feature Chevy Chase.
So I was intrigued by Table 19, it boasts an impressive ensemble cast and a premise that seemed ripe for comedic gold, particularly when you consider the number of genuinely funny people attached to the project.
On face value this film looked promising enough and I held on to that hope for as long as I possibly could.
The film’s setup is simple, a group of eclectic characters led by Anna Kendrick (who we all have a crush on – admit it) are invited to a friend’s wedding, but find themselves collectively dumped on the other side of the universe, well the aforementioned Table 19. The plan is that this group of loveable losers will be kept far away from the wedding’s ‘normal’ guests, but since this is a movie nothing works out like it’s meant to.
When grouped together the characters are all fine, Stephen Merchant is charming if a little creepy, June Squibb plays the archetypical mentor type and Craig Robinson plays that character Craig Robinson always plays in movies. The dialogue felt natural and I found myself smiling in my cinema seat, I’ll even admit there was one snort of laughter early on.
Then the characters disperse from the table and the film descends into one falling over joke after another. These set-pieces are perfect for a two-minute trailer, but not a 90 minute feature. It was here that I lost my compassion for these characters and more importantly my patience with the film.
As this group of loveable losers try to outdo each other with a string of embarrassing set-pieces, I just wanted them to head home or at least to regroup at Table 19; but instead the film’s writers are determined they should try to work out their problems in a series of unfunny and unrealistic ways.
The central problem is that I just didn’t care, it’s all so tame and formulaic and there’s simply no edge to proceedings. Anna Kendrick’s prettiness can only carry a film so far and despite my cinematic crush I’ll not be rushing to re-watch this anytime soon.
I can’t say that I hated this movie, I’m just really disappointed with it.
It looks as if this could be a really lovely wedding reception. But I felt it was messy like the morning after.