Scene & Heard: ‘Table 19’ is full of flaws, and full of laughs

TABLE 19 cast shot
(From L-R): Lisa Kudrow as “Bina,” Craig Robinson as “Jerry,” June Squibb as “Jo,” Stephen Merchant as “Walter,” Anna Kendrick as “Eloise,” and Tony Revolori as “Renzo” in TABLE 19. Photo by Jace Downs. © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

 

By Jared Huizenga – Contributing Writer

 

If you’ve ever been to a wedding, you’ve likely seen them. Heck, some of us have probably even been them.

 

Of course, I’m talking about that one table that’s filled with familial black sheep, parents’ high school classmates and other random weirdos that nobody can seem to place. I mean, I haven’t been one of those people … I’m talking about other people. They have, not me.

 

Often seen or discussed in movies featuring weddings, those people – whoever they are – have finally been given their chance to shine in “Table 19.”

 

After resigning as maid of honor in her oldest friend’s wedding – due to getting dumped by the bride’s brother – Eloise (Anna Kendrick) begrudgingly RSVPs to the wedding and finds herself at the randoms table … Table 19.

 

Joining her on this awkward journey is married couple, and business associate of the groom’s father, Bina (Lisa Kudrow) and Jerry (Craig Robinson); the bride’s first nanny, Jo (June Squibb); the bride’s ex-convict cousin, Walter (Stephen Merchant); and hapless high school virgin, who’s tenuous connection to the couple I missed, Rezno (Tony Revolori).

 

As the day drags on and the menagerie of strangers gets to know one another, their secrets and true intentions for being at the wedding start to come to light.

 

First things first: I know that in terms of “film,” “Table 19” is not good. The humor is sophomoric and often opts for the lowest-hanging fruit possible; the acting, aside from the always charming Kendrick, is less than stellar; and the depth of the story is virtually non-existent – even at 87 minutes, it feels like it’s stretched pretty thin.

 

Having said all of that, I actually enjoyed “Table 19” as a movie.

 

Kendrick is one of my personal favorites, and Robinson and Squibb are under-appreciated for their abilities. Add to that oddball turns from Merchant and Revolori, and you have at the very least a fun cast to watch.

 

“Table 19” is written by Mark and Jay Duplass – the brother tandem that brought us “Jeff, Who Lives at Home” and “The Puffy Chair.” While this one is more conventional fare than those, the wacky, irreverent humor is certainly on display, and their histories – individually or collectively – I’ll give anything they’re attached to a chance.

 

The key to enjoying “Table 19” is to set your expectations low, turn off your sensibilities and don’t over-think it. It’s highly flawed, but if you follow that road map, you should be able to look past it to see the fun.

 

★★★ of ★★★★★

 

Jared Huizenga is a freelance movie critic. Follow his work at www.facebook.com/JaredMovies.

 

 

TABLE 19
Ex-Maid of Honor Eloise (Anna Kendrick) confronts her ex-boyfriend/bride’s brother/best man Teddy (Wyatt Russell), while her new-found friends from the random guest table cheer her on in “Table 19.” (Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight)