Starring: Anna Kendrick, Lisa Kudrow, Craig Robinson
Director: Jeffrey Blitz
Running Time: 87 mins
Table 19 is an American film about a group of people who meet after being placed on the same table at a wedding together. Although the only thing they have in common is their lack of close relation to the bride and groom, they grow a strong bond over the course of a few hours at the most unorthodox wedding possible.
It’s a premise that we’ve seen numerous times before, and have rarely ever seen work out well. A group of ordinary people come together in a perfectly ordinary situation, but through their conversations, they begin to delve into the deepest and most important meanings of their lives. Irritatingly, however, with a dull screenplay and a mixed bag of performances, there’s nowhere near enough intrigue here to get even close to that level of drama, making for a generally underwhelming and frustrating watch.
The biggest problem with this film by a mile is simply the fact that it thinks way too highly of itself. Despite being labelled as a comedy-drama, Table 19 is one of those films that seems really proud about the fact that it’s taking on some more intelligent topics, all the while keeping things fun for the viewer, but it’s exactly that sentiment that leads to its downfall.
For me, there’s absolutely no way that this film gets at all close to bringing some genuine and engrossing drama to the table, rather playing out like a series of dull conversations that don’t bring the extraordinary out of the ordinary. In similar fashion to films like Drinking Buddies, Table 19 sacrifices a good cast of comedic and dramatic talent by placing all its eggs in the basket of ‘overly heartfelt and intimate drama’, ruining its chances of being either entertaining or interesting.
Another issue here is the performances. The film’s writing definitely doesn’t do it any favours when it comes to pulling off interesting drama, but some of the performances add to the frustrating nature of the whole affair. Whilst not all are terrible, with the likes of June Squibb, Lisa Kudrow and Craig Robinson proving moderately entertaining, numerous actors, particularly Anna Kendrick, Stephen Merchant, Tony Revolori and Wyatt Russell are all infuriating to watch.
On the one hand, Merchant and Revolori’s characters are incredibly irritating by nature, and with such a low standard of comedy, there’s not much entertainment to be had from them, but the two actors go one further by putting in very forced and excessive comedic performances that do nothing to make up for the lack in good laughs, making their presence on screen a consistent annoyance.
On the other hand, the likes of Kendrick and Russell fail because they’re not doing enough to be entertaining. After all, this is a comedy-drama, but these two actors feel miles away from that with their over-the-top and whiny dramatic performances, portraying two very unlikable characters that for some reason take more and more importance in the story as the film goes on, making for an even less interesting and entertaining watch as we have to watch two people we don’t like delve deeply into their relationship.
Overall, I wasn’t a fan of Table 19. It’s not a totally awful film, and some of the performances work, but with an arrogant opinion of itself as a proper comedy-drama, coupled with a dull screenplay, irritating characters, rubbish comedy, and some poor performances, it’s a very frustrating watch from start to finish, and that’s why I’m giving it a 6.5.