Official trailer for Table 19, starring Anna Kendrick, Craig Robinson, June Squibb, Lisa Kudrow, Stephen Merchant and Tony Revolori
Director Jeffrey Blitz
Starring Anna Kendrick, Lisa Kudrow, Wyatt Russell
Running time 87 minutes
Verdict Accept — with reservations
DUE to an unfortunately-timed breakup with the brother-of-the-bride, Eloise McGarry (Anna Kendrick) has been unceremoniously demoted to the outermost fringes of her oldest friend’s wedding.
What this says about her former bestie’s loyalty is confounding enough to warrant a movie of its own (or perhaps Bridesmaids has already got that covered).
But the concrete result of the abrupt and definitive change in the seating arrangement, for McGarry, is social ostracism.
Stuck at the table closest to the toilets, the former maid of honour finds herself struggling to make small-talk with the wedding’s rejects, misfits and also-rans.
Bereft and embittered, her already-sharp tongue slices through the conversation like a mandolin.
Table 19, she informs her fellow diners, is for people who should have known better than to RSVP.
This includes the bride’s former nanny (June Squibb), an indefatigable optimist who has been trying extremely hard not to acknowledge that her former charges have barely registered her presence.
Less emotionally-invested is Lisa Kudrow’s delightfully droll diner-owner Bina Kepp and her husband Jerry (Craig Robinson), who accepted the invitation because their relationship is stuck in a rut and a weekend away seemed like a good idea.
Warming the other seats are Rezno Eckberg (Tony Revolori), a high school student who is under the impression that he has a better chance of scoring a date at a wedding than he does at his senior prom, and the bride’s uncle, Walter Thimple (Stephen Merchant), who would appear to have been given a day release from some kind of psychiatric institution.
As the champagne flows, the speeches digress and the karaoke kicks in, these outsiders form their own little fraternity in the time-honoured tradition of such comedies, although this one has a more independent-minded, almost misanthropic edge.
Providing temporary respite for McGarry from the ignominy of her situation is a smooth-talking, slow-dancing Australian wedding crasher (Thomas Cocquerel) who seems just a little too good to be true.
At the other end of the Y-chromosome spectrum is McGarry’s deadbeat Teddy (Wyatt Russell), to whom there may (or may not) be more than meets the eye.
Directed by Jeffrey Blitz (Spellbound), from a screenplay by Mark and Jay Duplass (Jeff, Who Lives At Home), Table 19 has a good deal in common with its characters.
In genre terms, the rom-com outsider occupies an awkward space somewhere between its indie roots and its mainstream aspirations.
While the material is uneven, and the tone is at times discordant, the talented bunch of actors find unexpected patterns and textures as they work against the grain.
The longer you spend with the motley bunch at Table 19, the more they grow on you.
Table 19 is now showing (opens April 20)