Fox Searchlight Pictures
Reviewed by: Harvey Karten, CompuServe Film d-based on Rotten Tomatoes
Director: Jeffrey Blitz
Written by: Marc Duplass, Jerry Duplass
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Craig Robinson, June Squibb, Lisa Kudrow, Stephen Merchant, Tony Revolori
Screened at: Cinépolis Chelsea, NYC, 2/27/17
Opens: March 3, 2017
Let’s say you are a woman who plans to get married soon and your parents give you a choice: a) a down payment on a co-op; b) the full cost of the wedding reception. You don’t have to see “Table 19” to decide but it will help. First off, without seeing the movie, would you really want to have your folks pay $50,000 for a five-hour function? You do? You think it would be the highlight of your life? Then, you’d better see “Table 19,” because in return for the $14 you pay for a ticket you are able to sit in on a filmed wedding where you will wind up being uncomfortable to the point of being tortured.
It’s not only the title table that’s a disaster, that’s of course where the smell of the bathrooms mixes with the aroma of the cake—like where you sat the last time you booked a haute cuisine restaurant your name is not Tom Cruise. It’s the entire affair, a listless comedy with s pretense to art when the conversations turn sober. Director Jeffrey Blitz is the master of ceremonies here, and the Duplass brothers give the cast some of the lamest dialogue and absurd situations you can imagine.
Heading the cast, which is really an ensemble, is Eloise McGarry (Anna Kendrick), who intended to go to the reception with her boyfriend Teddy (Wyatt Russell)—he as his sister’s best man, she as the maid of honor. But since Teddy dumped Eloise by texting, the bride dropped Eloise and put her with the losers’ table. The losers’ table is made up largely of singles such as Jo Flanagan (June Squibb), who was the bride’s nanny way back; Walter Thimble (Stephen Merchant), who wears aviator glasses like it’s the 1980s and announces maybe four times that he is a successful businessman (he’s not); Tono Revolori (Renzo Eckberg), whose mother wants him to attend so he can meet someone; and Jerry Keep (Craig Robinson) and Bina Kepp (Lisa Kudrow), who own a diner and who are put at the dreaded table 19 for reasons only the bride knows.
Instead of remaining together at the table and making idle chit-chat, they move about the hall and the outdoors, bonding by conversing with one another about their lives and disappointments with the energy of a TV sitcom. Young Renzo goes to a table where a high-school age girl is sitting to ask her to dance, but makes sure to tell her that he has a large penis (are you laughing yet)? He later flashes a box of Trojans to Bina, who is staying at the hotel with Jerry. Nanny Jo makes sure we all think she’s cool because in her seventies or eighties she has a stash of weed. The best dialogue comes from the dog (uncredited).
The Duplass brothers have done better with mumblecore movies and, in a similar vein as “Table 19,” with “Cyrus”—a well-scripted view of divorced middle aged man and a single mother who establish a small relationship. But why bother going any further? With the way things are going all around, there should be a sequel next year about a wave of divorces.
Rated PG-13. 87 minutes. © Harvey Karten, Member, New York Film Critics Online
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