Table 19

 

starstar

 


Six losers are dumped together on the same table at a wedding reception.

 

Table 19

Social jetsam: Lisa Kudrow, Craig Robinson, June Squibb, Stephen Merchant, Anna Kendrick and Tony Revolori

 

One’s wedding day is meant to be the happiest of one’s life. Consequently, months of infinitesimal planning and unseemly sums of money are thrown at the big day. The occasion is also ripe for comic and romantic exploitation on the big screen, a furrow that has been well ploughed. Here, Jeffrey Blitz – the indie director of the critically favoured Spellbound (2002) and Rocket Science (2007) – focuses less on the bride and groom as on those invited to the ceremony as a gesture of duty more than desire. At the wedding of Doug and Francie, the table allocated to the social jetsam includes none other than Eloise McGarry (Anna Kendrick), who happens to be the oldest friend of the bride. She’s also still holding a torch for Teddy (Wyatt Russell), who happpens to be the bride’s brother as well as the best man and boyfriend of Nikki (Amanda Crew)…

 

Comedies about losers – be they farces or tragi-comedies – are unusually hard to pull off. Unless they’re starring Tony Hancock or Ricky Gervais. Here, Blitz, who also scripted, throws too many cheap narrative life belts onto a sinking raft, including pregnancy, prison and terminal illness. Some people seated at Table 19 might just deserve their fate without being saddled with a terrible social inconvenience. And even when we’re told “people do weird things at weddings,” what goes on here relies too heavily on canine reaction shots and people falling over – never a good sign.

 

There are a couple of funny moments, the odd good running joke (such as Lisa Kudrow’s unfortunate choice of wardrobe, which happens to match the caterers’ uniform), but it’s not enough. At times it’s hard to know what the film is attempting to be: comédie pathétique? There is a curious vein of both sadness and strangeness running throughout, which might have reaped dividends had we not been saddled with so many caricatures.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Anna Kendrick, Craig Robinson, June Squibb, Lisa Kudrow, Stephen Merchant, Tony Revolori, Wyatt Russell, Amanda Crew, Thomas Cocquerel, Margo Martindale.

 

Dir Jeffrey Blitz, Pro Shawn Levy, Tom McNulty and Mark Roberts, Screenplay Jeffrey Blitz, Ph Ben Richardson, Pro Des Timothy David O'Brien, Ed Yana Gorskaya, Music John Swihart, Costumes Peggy Stamper.

 

3311 Productions/21 Laps Entertainment-20th Century Fox.

87 mins. USA/Finland. 2017. Rel: 7 April 2017. Cert. 12A.