The idea of Anna Kendrick, Lisa Kudrow, Stephen Merchant, Craig Robinson and June Squibb in an ensemble comedy sounds promising, right? Each of these actors and actresses is hilarious on their own. However, Table 19, the movie in which this idea becomes a reality, fails at being funny. It fails at being a cute indie film. It fails at everything it sets out to do, so by the end of the film you may find yourself wondering, “What the hell did I just watch?”
Table 19 is about Anna Kendrick’s insufferable character, Eloise, who was dumped by her boyfriend two months ago. Said ex-boyfriend is the brother of Eloise’s best friend, who is the bride at the wedding reception where the bulk of Table 19 occurs. Eloise was supposed to be the maid of honour but gets kicked out of the wedding party after the break-up (because that’s what best friends do?). So now, Eloise must attend the wedding and sit at Table 19, the table that we are repeatedly told is reserved for the losers and the misfits. The rest of the movie involves the table of outcasts variously bickering, dancing, getting into shenanigans, and being awkward and outcast-y. Oh and then Eloise decides she is still in love with her ex boyfriend (again, an insufferable character) and the movie switches gears and tries to be a serious drama. It’s a mess.
Nobody watches a movie like Table 19 expecting it to be a masterpiece; the problem here is that it doesn’t even deliver on what we do expect from it, which is to be a fluffy, enjoyable comedy with a likeable cast. Halfway through the movie, the tone changes completely and you realize that this film is trying to be something it’s not – a meaningful film. We don’t care about the plight of Eloise and boyfriend-I-can’t-be-bothered-to-name, because the characters are not likeable and they’re not believable. Even Lisa Kudrow, generally a likeable person, cannot save this movie. What is she doing here? Why has she agreed to this? All of these actors and actresses can do much better than this movie. It has shades of New Year’s Eve and Mother’s Day – meaning, the filmmakers attempted to make this an ensemble comedy with too many characters that we don’t care about, and it ultimately becomes annoying.