Anna Kendrick is a gift to us all, but even she can’t save the latest comedy from Jeffrey Blitz, Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass.
Table 19, which to its credit, is a mostly charming, sweet and funny film, follows a group of outsiders at a wedding where they’re mostly ignored and unwanted. Kendrick leads the cast as Eloise, a woman recently dumped by the best man, and failing miserably at acting like she doesn’t care. Joining her are Lisa Kudrow and Craig Robinson as a unhappily married couple, Stephen Merchant as an awkward ex-con, Tony Revolori as a desperate teen, and June Squibb as the bride’s all-knowing ex-nanny.
I can’t really fault the cast here, who each bring a spark to their characters, creating some warming moments that give the film its heart. June Squibb is wonderful as Jo, seemingly perpetually cheerful despite guarding a serious secret while Stephen Merchant provides most of the film’s laughs, despite not having all that much to do.
But my main problem is this (WARNING: spoiler alert): we spend quite a lot of time investing in Eloise and her future (and that of her unborn child’s), and most of the film sets up her ex as a deadbeat loser best left in the past. Even her character doesn’t seem to like the very essence of who he is.
But alas, for some reason, Eloise realises she’d rather be with Teddy and forgive his screw ups, just like he does for her. It’s a baffling moment considering the other characters reconcile their respective issues naturally. The film initially seemed to point to a future where Eloise is better off alone, and to put her back on a path to her ex felt forced and disappointing.
The ending may have been a let down, doing a major serious disservice to the audience and Kendrick’s Eloise, but for the most part, Table 19 is a sweet film and an easy watch.