Table 19 – 2017
Written and Directed by Jeffrey Blitz
Starring Anna Kendrick, Craig Robinson, Jeffrey Blitz, June Squibb, Lisa Kudrow, Stephen Merchant, Tony Revelori, Wyatt Russell, Amanda Crew
Having rented this because I knew Anna Kendrick and Craig Robinson were in it, I felt like turning it off once I saw the Duplass brothers in the opening credits. I have seen enough of their crap to know that they are in the business to just about break even making movies people in cities will like to discuss while drinking coffee at corporate coffee houses. Nothing they do is ever all that original, and almost always depressing as hell. Well, not the Mindy Kaling Project. That’s just brilliant because of her. Their names stop after Story credit, though. And it is writer and director Blitz won an Emmy for his work in The Office. I kept watching, and I am glad I did.
The story covers the persons who are located in the table of odds and ends to the Wedding of the best friend of Eloise (Kendrick). These seats, according to the former maid of honor and ex-girlfriend of the bride’s brother, Teddy (Russell) are ‘for the guests who were only reluctantly invited and whom the hosts hoped would not attend.’ It does not take long for all of the guests to realize the nature of their arrangement, which is a little longer than it takes for the viewer to know the entire story of why they are seated with Eloise.
Eloise had a real hard time deciding to go. The fact that she even sends in the RSVP in its condition is amusing. She has some hard feelings and tries to avoid showing them. This cannot last long, of course, because the story needs to move on.
The execution of the story is solid, and there are actually some really good lines thrown in throughout. The performances, especially Kendrick, Revolori, Robinson and Russell, are all good. The standout, though, is Squibb, who gently steals the movie, straightens its collar, gives it a hug and pushes it out in the world feeling much better about itself without any b.s. at all.
There are some glaring slow moments when everyone stares at each other which makes me think of…The Office. These moments are nicely countered by the acting and the neatly put together if entirely predictable script.
In all honesty, little was expected of this film and it delivers more than most comedies I have seen in the last few years. See it if you like any of the principals, or if you just want a sweet story that hits all of the satisfying notes without a thud.
If you see this film expecting a nice romantic comedy, you will not leave disappointed.
(***1/2 out of *****)