Anna Kendrick leads a star-studded cast in Table 19. Unfortunately, all of them should have responded “no.”
That’s not to say that this film isn’t cute because it is at times and it might even be better than the worst weddings you’ve ever been to. I feel bad saying this because I usually enjoy films that are associated with the Duplass Brothers.
Written and directed by Jeffrey Blitz from a story by the Duplass Brothers, Kendrick leads a cast that includes Craig Robinson, June Squibb, Lisa Kudrow, Stephan Merchant, Tony Revolori, Wyatt Russell, and Amanda Crew.
Kendrick stars as Eloise, the ex-maid of honor. It wasn’t just that she was removed as maid-of-honor by the bride but that it was done so after her boyfriend, Teddy, dumped her by text message. The bride is Eloise’s longtime friend and despite the circumstances, she goes anyway. When she arrives, she’s seated with the random table far away in the back of the wedding reception. We find out more about these people during the film and learn that they should have just said no. They all become friends with each other but that’s kind of expected from a film of this sort.
This table features the bride’s former nanny, business associates, an ex-best friend, and a distant relative. They all have their own reason for attending the wedding. But Eloise? She’s a person who we are rooting for. Eloise is vulnerable as she attends the wedding in order to confront Teddy.
“It’s a story about six people who arrive at a wedding that they probably should not have come to in the first place,” says Jeffrey Blitz, who wrote and directed the film. “They are seated at the worst table and somehow end up having their own meaningful adventure that intersects with the wedding, without really having anything to do with it directly.”
I don’t know what could really have improved the movie. The talent is solid so that wasn’t the problem. Could it have been that Jay and Mark Duplass were originally set to direct the film? Maybe. Blitz ended up writing the screenplay but he also won a Sundance prize for directing with 2007’s Rocket Science and his debut film earned him an Oscar nomination for best documentary.
There is some fun in these wedding randoms trying to make conversation with each other. That goes without saying but given the pedigree, this wedding comedy could have been so much better.
Fox Searchlight opened the film on March 3rd. The film will arrive on Blu-Ray next month.