TABLE 19

RSVP AN EMPHATIC NO

THEATRICAL REVIEW
By Jess Fenton
16th April 2017

Nothing upsets me more than when bad movies happen to good actors. Okay, maybe animal cruelty, bigotry, injustice and things like that upset me more, but the whole bad movies things comes in a close 67th. I have such admiration for actors, I can’t help but feel they’ve been coerced into these terrible projects, and then I start analysing their onscreen blinks to see if they’re sending me secret distress signals. I recently suffered through such a movie - and what's worse is that I was genuinely looking forward to ‘Table 19’. Great cast, cute concept and a token Aussie (Thomas Cocquerel, 'Red Dog: True Blue'). Sign me up.

Eloise (Anna Kendrick) has forced herself to attend her friend's wedding where not only was she once the intended Maid-of-Honour, but her recent ex-boyfriend Teddy (Wyatt Russell) is the best man. Now relegated to table 19 at the reception, Eloise encounters a table full of loveable misfits, none of whom are quite sure why they’re there - or more importantly, why they RSVD'ed "yes" - but they’re here now and they’re all they’ve got to make it through the event.

SWITCH: 'TABLE 19' TRAILER

What starts as a simple concept chock full of possibilities for fun and emotional human interactions quickly becomes melodramatic and overcomplicated, with too many layers and secondary characters. The filmmakers attempt to add more weight to than is necessary or even wanted.

Writer/director Jeffrey Blitz found his success in television, and it shows. A feature-length film has proven a little too much for the TV-type, and at only 87 minutes we have our first red flag - if you don’t have enough material to fill at least 90 minutes then you’re in trouble. ‘Table 19’ falls victim to too many lulls, music montages and moody stare-offs. If this was a 22-minutes episode I’m sure Blitz could have nailed it. Even with the aid of the Duplass brothers as the men behind the story and wearing producer caps, this film just falls horribly short. You can sadly tell when it’s trying to be funny and it just isn’t. You can tell when it’s trying to be emotional or cathartic, but the script is so basic and undercooked that it never gets there. Many of the table 19ers stories are unfinished and painfully thin, and the likes of Lisa Kudrow, Craig Robinson, Stephen Merchant, June Squibb and that kid from ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ are all tragically wasted.

An actual wedding is more fun than ‘Table 19’. I feel that I should have prefaced that last sentence by reminding everyone that weddings suck so hard.

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