If I was making the seating chart for a room full of movies, Table 19 will be happy to know it’s not being relegated to the back of the hall near the bathrooms. That said, it won’t be joining the lower digit tables that everyone would prefer to be sitting at either.
As the movie explains it, Table 19 is full of the people invited to the wedding that should’ve known better than to actually come. It has the childhood nanny, the embarrassing distant relative, the couple that works in the same industry as the bride’s dad, and some kid that honestly I have no idea how he’s connected even though I’m sure we got his 6 degrees at some point. Whatever. He’s there and he’s weird, so score one for the outcasts.
To lead this not quite Breakfast Club band of misfits is Anna Kendrick as the dropout maid of honor, bringing the drama one would expect from having a title like that. The movie really wants to make sure that we’re on her side from the moment we meet her, and as she gets kicked repeatedly in the gut by her ex and her bridal party replacement it starts to become clear that this isn’t the expected movie. It’s far less “these ‘losers’ get together and then hijinks ensue,” and more “these ‘losers’ get together and then things get real.” There’s still plenty of shenanigans, but far more sincerity.
Maybe too much sincerity. As we yearn for this group to learn from each other and grow through this fleeting connection, the story sometimes loses its way when focusing too closely at one conflict over another. Everyone has a story and I appreciate that every character should have their own substance, but cutting away to these other moments (especially The Kepp’s marital issues) slows the progress of the main story (which is what I’m calling Anna Kendrick’s journey). I feel bad saying that Lisa Kudrow, Craig Robinson, Stephen Merchant, June Squibb and Tony Revolori should fill supporting roles pushing Anna Kendrick along, but this would’ve been for the best in the end.
Well, maybe not Stephen Merchant. Keep all his stuff, trim the rest. Oh, and cut the Australian love interest completely. Between him and the Kepps I really don’t know what this movie wants me to think. Unless I should believe that the moral of this story is to settle. Eventually as your options narrow your backup will start looking like your first choice. I said this movie was more sincere than funny, but I don’t think it is secretly gloomy as well considering so much of it wanted to wrap up nicely.
In the end I appreciate the story Table 19 tells as it does its best to make every character of this forgotten table important, I just don’t think everything shown to us about these characters WAS important.