Anna Kendrick, Craig Robinson, Lisa Kudrow, Stephen Merchant, June Squibb, Tony Revolori, Wyatt Russell
FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
A horribly superficial rom-com Frankenstein
Ex-maid of honor Eloise (Anna Kendrick), having been relieved of her duties after being unceremoniously dumped by the best man via text – decides to hold her head up high and attend her oldest friend’s wedding anyway. She finds herself seated at the ‘random’ table in the back of the ballroom with a disparate group of strangers, most of whom should have known to just send regrets (but not before sending something nice off the registry). As everyone’s personal backstories and secrets are revealed, Eloise learns a thing or two from the denizens of Table 19. Friendships – and even a little romance – can happen under the most unlikely circumstances.
Wow, ok so… it’s bad, guys. Really very bad. And it’s not the ‘we-tried-and-failed’ kind of bad, but the ‘this-is-a-cataclysmic-town-destroying-trainwreck’ kind of bad. There are so many problems with Table 19; performance, direction, editing – but the writing has to be the number one offender.
Written by the Duplass brothers Jeff and Mark, the Table 19 screenplay lacks humour and emotional depth, which is mainly the result of their attempt to randomly piece together elements of both into one horribly superficial rom-com Frankenstein.
There are very small glimpses of some good ideas in there, and maybe the original script was far more resolute and natural, but after what was presumably edit 23 of production notes and studio additions, none of the pieces fit together long enough for you to properly see them. The jokes are not funny, the attempts at emotion and drama are disgustingly ‘midday soap opera’ and there is zero chemistry between any of the characters. And so, what we are left with here is a heaping pile of white noise, struggling to hit mediocrity.
What’s even more astounding is that the cast demonstrates a pretty low care-factor. You’d expect such a killer lineup of comedic actors like Kudrow, Robinson and Kendrick to deliver the goods, or at least in the absence of funny writing rely on and exude their natural built-in humor. But no. Nothing. Nada. They give you zip. It actually gets a bit hard to watch because everyone is so clearly phoning it in.
And faced with a vanilla script and a cast who seemingly couldn’t care less, director Jeffrey Blitz (who is better suited to his TV gigs – The Office, Parks & Recreation, Review) fumbles massively in trying to piece together this flaming hot mess into something at least sequential. Which, spoiler alert, he does not pull off.
Table 19 is terribly performed, directed, written and strangely edited that very unsuccessfully attempts to tick the sentimentality and comedy boxes. What starts as an interesting premise and traditionally funny people manifests into what may be a strong contender for worst film of 2017.