Romantic-comedy 'Table 19' not really romantic or a comedy
Posted March 3
THE MOVIE THEATER — I don’t know if you aware, but there is a vicious social hierarchy based upon the table you are assigned to during a wedding.
In this social construct, the most influential and popular friends and family members are seated at the tables nearest the bride and groom with progressively less desirable family members, friends and associates placed at concentrically farther distances from the center of the party.
This of course means that there ultimately resides a place for the people least wanted at the party or as it was described in the movie “Table 19," “The table of people who could disappear from the wedding and no one would notice.”
Apparently this is enough of a problem that someone thought they should try to make a funny movie out of the idea.
The film “Table 19” essentially follows a group of undesirables as their stories unfold over the course of a wedding. The group is led by Anna Kendrick who plays Eloise McGarry, the “unstable” ex-girlfriend of the best man. With a supporting cast of kind of familiar names such as Lisa Kudrow, Craig Robinson and my favorite Tony Revelori (the kid who played young Zero Moustafa in “The Grand Budapest Hotel”), you'd think this movie could get a little something going for it. But it just couldn’t manage to make it happen.
As always, I try to be fair about what I like and dislike. Here's my list or pros and cons for “Table 19”:
Kendrick does a great job portraying the emotionally unstable ex-girlfriend in this movie for reasons other than what you might think. Her reasons for her emotional state become clear as the movie progresses, and we get to understand her full relationship to the bride's family. Clearly a smart actress, Kendrick acts beyond what is required of her for this film. I think she can and should play smarter roles in films, but hasn't really seemed to land the right part yet.
Amazingly, there are some genuinely touching moments built into the movie. Not enough to keep you emotionally invested, but enough to add contrast to a few of the funnier moments of the film.
Not that a stereotypical wedding band playing stereotypical '80s music in a wedding movie is enough to redeem a stereotypical film, but many of the songs they chose to play hit some of the chords I think they were hoping for in establishing the feel of this movie.
This film struggles for an hour and half to convince us that table placement at a wedding is a bigger problem than it really is. However, I understand there needed to be some sort of context to put this particular group of people together at this particular time. The problem I found is that the '80s movie “The Breakfast Club” did it so much better and didn’t rip anyone off to do it.
The thing I was most excited about as the movie unfolded was to learn each one of these character's stories and why they earned their place in wedding party outer darkness. As it turned out, their stories and identities were severely underdeveloped and we were left wanting more, but never received it.
Poor and disjointed pacing
In order for a story like this to work, the flow of the film has to be just right. When developing characters, there must be some form of continuity to their arc. In "Table 19," it feels like the story develops for each character in an almost random unpredictable way— starting one storyline and abandoning it halfway through, only to bring it up later after it doesn’t seem important anymore.
Despite the stretch this movie made to make an imaginary situation seem relevant and funny, "Table 19" just wasn’t that funny or relatable. Given the fact that this film is considered a romantic comedy, yet was released two weeks after Valentine’s Day, does not inspire much confidence in its ability to be romantic or funny.