MOVIE REVIEW: Table 19

The guests at a wedding, the ones you didn’t really want to invite, but had to, are all placed at the one table.  This is usually in the back of the hall or room, and then the Bride and Groom would rather eat their chairs than come down to this table and make nice.  They prefer it when you just send back the RSVP card and a cheque, then leave them alone, I prefer to ignore the invite.  Table 19 is a comedy with some heart and a lot of jokes that don’t work at all.

Anna Kendrick is one of those actresses that you can see lighting up the Oscars with a performance one of these days, she’s funny, sexy, smart, and sassy.  But she’s never going to go anywhere unless she starts to pick rolls that bring her forward as an actress and performer.  Here she basically plays the same character that she played in that film Mike and Dave need Wedding Dates.  She has been dumped by the Brother of her oldest friend, who is getting married and is also the best man at the wedding.  She still gets an invite but gets put at the table where the great unwashed are seated.  Along with a married couple who have lost their spark, a cousin of the Bride who has just come out of prison, the Brides old Nanny, and a young boy who is so socially strange he takes every compliment seriously.

They are seated at the last table in the hall, and it’s just painful, not just for the characters but for the viewer.  The jokes that are there fail to hit, and those that manage to get a chuckle out of you are let down by the misses that go over your head.

I hate beating up movies but this one deserves it.  I’ll tell you why!  It could have been something fantastic, it has a lot of heart, some great comedy performers, and a feeling of a 1980’s John Hughes film.  That film is  just waiting by the kitchen door for the speeches to be over and then it’s going to come out with a tray full of awesomeness.  Sadly the waiter dropped the tray and we’re left licking the icing of the wedding cake.  Then it’s not even a real wedding cake, just that pretend one that hangs around to make itself look like the good cake the couple were too cheap to buy.

I may hate going to weddings too. 

Stephen Merchant goes back to playing Stephen Merchant, the one trick pony throws the goodness of his character turn in Logan to return to a familiar role that anyone can play.  The film works well with the performances of Lisa Kudrow and Craig Robinson who play the married couple.  To be honest with you most of the marks this film, which is labelled as a comedy, is awarded is down to the characterisations of the guests.  It lifts it up.  This film reminds me of The Wedding Crashers without the few jokes that that film had.  I’ve been complaining that a lot of American Comedies that we’re getting are failing because the jokes aren’t there.  Just because you line up comedy performers doesn’t mean the film is going to be funny in itself.  You’ve got to give us some funny, concentrate on the jokes and we’ll go, we’ll join you.

Taking the jokes out of the film and making this a pure drama would have worked better, but you can see each comic talent that is trying to get the most out of the half hearted lines struggling to come to terms with this project.  I want Anna Kendrick to do well in films, she’s delightful to watch when it’s well written.  But this is barely a passing grade.  At least we have Pitch Perfect 3 and Trolls 2 to look forward to… sigh!

Director: Jeffrey Blitz
Writers: Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass
Stars: Anna Kendrick, Lisa Kudrow, Craig Robinson

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