Take a seat at comic ‘Table 19’
What is it about wedding movies? “Pitch Perfect” star Anna Kendrick takes the lead in the ensemble comedy “Table 19,” a film about outcasts made to sit at the least appealing table at a wedding reception. The idea is perfect in its simplicity and was the brainchild of former Mumblecore-ians Mark and Jay Duplass, albeit co-scripted and directed by “Office” veteran Jeffrey Blitz.
I could never stand to watch “The Office” for more than five minutes at a time. But “Table 19” has its moments, however predictable the entire thing is, ending hugs and all. Kendrick is notably named singleton Eloise, who in amusing opening scenes reluctantly accepts an invitation she (accidentally?) sets on fire to the wedding of ex-best friend Francie (Rya Meyers). Eloise and Francie’s tall handsome brother Teddy (Wyatt Russell, “Everybody Wants Some!!”) have just broken up. He is the best man and boyfriend of new maid of honor Nikki (Amanda Crew). Eloise was the maid of honor until she dropped out, which is why she has been banished to Table 19 with the other losers.
Among them are Francie’s decidedly un-Mary Poppins-like, pot-smoking, childhood nanny Jo (June Squibb, “Nebraska”), this film’s wisdom-dispensing Great Mother. Also at Table 19 is a short, randy adolescent boy named Renzo (Tony Revolori), wearing a bow tie made out of fur; an unhappy, middle-aged married couple (Lisa Kudrow and Craig Robinson) who run a diner in Ohio, where this is all set; and Walter Thimble (Stephen Merchant, also of this week’s “Logan”), an odd, tall man released temporarily from prison to attend.
“Table 19” has a talented cast, some comic charm, vomited pigs in a blanket and other “wedding food”-related humor, including the inevitable cake gag. A strange, very handsome young man named Huck (Thomas Cocquerel) appears, and sweeps sad and lonely Eloise off her feet, and one is not sure if he is an invitee or not. The actor’s not-well-hidden Aussie accent may or may not be a giveaway.
The wedding itself is one of those “destination” events, requiring those invited to spend a lot of their own money staying at a hotel. In this case it is the fictional Grand Resort Spruce Lounge, somewhere in a woodsy part of the Buckeye State (apparently, actually — really? — Finland). At one point I wondered why every young woman in almost every movie wears the same dangling-ringlets hairstyle these days. I also wondered if the Duplass brothers think it’s OK to say that Thimble’s bunk mate is a Latino named “Jalapeno,” who climbs into the upper berth buck naked. The best thing about “Table 19” might be the deliberately mediocre ’90s wedding band.
(“Table 19” contains sexually suggestive language, drug use and brief nudity.)