#REVIEW: “TABLE 19”
Review by Siobhán Rich for Mr. Will Wong
Few actresses are as universally-adored as Anna Kendrick. Her awkward adorableness allows her to coast through roles that would otherwise leave audiences cringing. In Table 19, Kendrick revisits her adorkable niche as Eloise McGarry, a dumped, former maid of honour who attends the wedding of her oldest friend to prove she’s not still hung-up on the best man. Since this is a Rom-Com she is clearly not over her ex and instead decides to ruin the day for virtually everyone she across.
Joining Eloise at the table furthest from the wedding party are a collection of misfits gifted with great insight and intuition about everyone but themselves. Least interesting are comic relief Walter (Logan’s Stephen Merchant), the black sheep of the bride’s family, and horny high schooler Renzo (The Grand Budapest Hotel’s Tony Revolori). Diner owners Bina and Jerry Kepp (Lisa Kudrow and Craig Robinson) possess a great backstory, but zero chemistry. Thankfully the ever-delightful June Squibb sits at the head of this table of misfits as Nanny Jo.
The bulk of the Movie occurs in a single evening and crams a lot of wedding table bonding into a short timeframe. The ragtag group of misfits must meet, bond, and team up to help save Eloise’s love life in the time it takes to eat an overpriced meal and dance to excellent 80s music.
Despite a script from the usually-sharp Duplass Brothers, Table 19 comes across as predictable and pedestrian. Plot twists can be seen coming around the corner and actual surprises are few and far between. The pratfalls that too frequently replace wit are amusing but unworthy of the award-winning siblings.
This isn’t Director Jeffrey Blitz’s first Movie with Kendrick and he demonstrates his familiarity with his leading lady allowing her to take ownership of every scene she’s in. From snotty crying scenes to vicious verbal takedowns, Kendrick’s presence dominates the Movie, proving her value as box office gold.
Rom-Coms are always about the journey because the audience already knows the destination: girl loses boy, girl ugly cries and a fool of herself, girl wins boy back. That part in the middle is why we keep going back Movie after Movie – because we long to see a story that will make us believe in true love. Table 19 reminds that the road to true love may be bumpy but the friends you meet along the way are worth RSVPing for.
Fox Searchlight release TABLE 19 on Friday, March 3, 2017.