Mel Brooke once said that the best comedies can be put into two distinct categories. Movies can put normal people put into uncomfortable or extraordinary situations. Or movies can put extraordinary people into normal everyday situations. So naturally, the wedding has been a fixture of comedies, since before Adam Sandler grew out his mullet.
The setting of Table 19
Weddings are a social minefield that border on either being mildly depressing or a real life black comedy. A tightrope one must walk while trying to keep balance in the face of a thousand different variables, drunk relatives, speeches before dinner, the mental image of your mother dancing to ‘Up-Town Funk’ on the dance floor seared deep into your retina’s and so on and so forth. The only real hope you have for survival is tying your tie around your head and going for it.
Table 19 focuses on one little table in the corner of a wedding reception. The table is ‘full of random guests that probably should haven’t have come.’ So, the scene is set. The cast is a typically motley crew of misfits and oddballs forced together as strangers. Naturally, they will bond and become friends by the end credits, a la The Breakfast club. Unlike The Breakfast Club, Table 19 has no idea what it’s trying to be.
Anna Kendrick plays by Eloise, who was the original made of honour until she got dumped. Dumped by the best man. Dumped by the best man, with a text message. Despite this, she feels obligated to attend and at the wedding, she meets another guy named Huck (Thomas Cocquerel). Huck looks like he’s crashing the party and so they hit it off almost instantly.
There’s a great cast
That’s about it for a plot, because the other people at the table are so one dimensional they contribute nothing to the main story. Everyone’s favourite lanky awkwardly charming geek Stephen Merchant plays Walter whose essentially every other Stephen Merchant character ever put on screen. Lisa Kudrow and Craig Robinson are a long-married couple who can sit through a dinner and never say a single thing to each other that isn’t an insult. And rounding off this ragtag group is June Squibb, as a little old lady, a sweet nanny that keeps a bag of pot in her room. And last but not least also Tony Revolori, from The Grand Budapest Hotel who plays a kid constantly trying to have sex with anyone he encounters.
An Irish wedding is far more craic that Table 19
While the movie’s cast is clearly talented, the film is bland paint by numbers stuff. For example; when the cake is introduced, you know exactly what’s coming. You know the wedding cake isn’t making it to the end of the movie. And the entire movie is like that, we know exactly what’s in front of us, ahead of us, way up ahead, even what’s around the bend way before we should.