Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Film Review: Table 19

You know its bad when your biggest laugh is literally a character falling off a log.

Wedding movies are a cute little subgenre that pops up every so often; from Bridesmaids to Wedding Crashers, it’s an arena that has served up several genuine gems over the years. Directed by Jeffrey Blitz (The Office) and written by Jay and Mark Duplass, Table 19 has aspirations of joining these esteemed ranks – but falls woefully short. 

The film concerns itself with Eloise (Anna Kendrick), the scorned maid of honour who passes on her duties after being dumped by Teddy (Wyatt Russell), the best man and brother of the bride. Determined to turn up to the wedding and show Teddy what he’s missing, Eloise finds herself unceremoniously dumped at table 19 with the rest of the losers, rejects and hangers-on; Walter (Stephen Merchant), Rezno (Tony Revolori), Bina (Lisa Kudrow), Jerry (Craig Robinson) and Jo (June Squibb).

Table 19 is a disjointed tangle of misshapen plot strands and half-baked characters that feel thrown together hastily, as if the finishing touches to the script were still being drawn up as the film entered the final stretch of shooting. Filled with a jealous rage and harbouring a secret, Eloise is supposed to find herself bonding with the rest of her tablemates over their comparable tales of hopelessness – except none of them are satisfactorily explored or explained all that well, save for Eloise.

Kendrick is right at home in the cute indie surrounds of Table 19; after all, her whole career is built on a solid bedrock of quaint indie comedies like The Hollars, Mr Right, The Last Five Years, Drinking Buddies and The Voices

And whilst it’s good that Kendrick keeps herself busy, maybe she needs to learn that quality is always preferable to quantity. Table 19 doesn’t give her the platform to put on a show or flex her acting chops; it doesn’t offer room to be comedic or tragic; it doesn’t even provide a coherent emotional arc for her character. Again, like with many of the films listed above, her infectious cheer and smiley nature feels like the only thing keeping the film afloat at times.

Serving up the most painful wedding this side of Westeros, Table 19 succeeds in replicating the sheer boredom and chair-shifting awkwardness that comes with attending a function in which you really have no investment. Only a handful of jokes land, the pacing is all over the place and everything is scored with a soundtrack so twee and cutesy it’s like an elongated Mumford and Sons banjo solo.

However, unlike most wedding receptions, at least Table 19 can claim to be only 87 minutes long. Still, save yourself the trouble of forking out for the gift registry and politely decline this invitation – your time is better spent washing the car, cleaning out the gutters, mowing the lawn or literally doing anything else.

The Verdict: 4/10

Aimless, unfunny and just plain boring, Table 19 is probably best left to just gather dust before being packed away and forgotten about.

Table 19 is in cinemas across Australia now.

This review was originally published over at Hooked on Film, a Perth based website where you can find even more new release movie reviews, features, interviews and insight. Click here to check it out.


  1. Dang... I thought this one might be good.

    1. Eh, it's not terrible if you're watching via Netflix. But forget forking out for the theatre...



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