Table 19

For those who have experienced more than one wedding reception in their lifetime, this is the film that tries to explain how the seating is chosen. Even the most optimistic in attendance, have probably asked the question, “How did I get seated at this table with these people?” This quirky romantic comedy illuminates the answer that is most likely obvious to all, but many of us do not want to admit, but the pain pales in comparison to the overall experience of watching Table 19.

Like most weddings, the bride spends countless hours planning the perfect day and every detail is scrutinised and organised. One of the most agonising elements is the seating at the wedding reception. This is the premise behind this tale of woe in the life of Eloise (Anna Kendrick). As the maid of honour, she had been an integral part of all of the wedding planning for her best friend Francie (Rya Meyers). Everything had been going beautifully as the day was getting closer until Eloise’s boyfriend breaks up with her. Despite having to endure the pain associated with this situation, the break up causes some major complications for the wedding. Teddy (Wyatt Russell) was not only her boyfriend, but Francie’s brother and the best man. Francie must make a choice between her best friend and her only sibling on who will be part of the wedding party. Which leads to Eloise being dropped from the bridle party and left to decide if she will even attend the wedding or not. After a back and forth process of decision making, she finally reluctantly commits to experience the nuptials and finds that she has been placed at the worst table at the reception, Table 19. The table for those who should have politely declined and sent a gift.

Anna Kendrick teams up with director Jeffrey Blitz (Rocket Science) for a second time to deliver an unique vantage point of  the wedding ceremony and all it entails. The set up for the premise looks to be a promising and fresh perspective on this painfully familiar storyline, but it quickly turns into a mess on the dance floor. Blitz provides each character the opportunity to develop through a montage of back stories that culminate at their inevitable placement at the back table. Each person brings a different expectation to the ritual of honouring the newly married couple. From the desperate single cousin to the fresh out of prison nephew to the forgotten nanny of the bride’s youth, they all come with varied backgrounds, but all have one thing in common. They were invited to the wedding, but once they find out they are not wanted, the high jinks begin and the inevitable ceremony disasters ensue.

All of the characters and actions could have amounted to another endearing rom-com, but instead Blitz decides to introduce unnecessary elements of their back stories. Each one of these biographical sketches adds a new level of discomfort to this train wreck and causes each member of the table to become less and less appealing. Which leaves the exceptional comedic talents of Stephen Merchant (Logan), Lisa Kudrow (The Girl on the Train) and Craig Robinson (This Is The End) reduced to trivial slapstick comedy. This is like watching your favourite uncle getting drunk and making a fool of himself on the dance floor at the reception. Leaving one wishing that that you could burn that image out of all recorded memories.

This awkward comparison may help audiences when considering their cinematic options this weekend. If Table 19 makes the list of possibilities, stop for a moment. Merely think of the most bizarre wedding situation in your life. Keep that at the forefront of your mind when you are about to purchase the ticket on-line then tick the box that says, ‘decline without any regrets.’

REEL DIALOGUE: What are some of the bigger questions to consider from this film?

These questions are designed for people to discuss the film in a more meaningful manner. Not to take away the enjoyment of the film, but to take the conversation and your relationship a bit deeper. If you still choose to attend Table 19, at least you can enjoy the conversation afterwards.

  1. What happened when Jesus showed up at a wedding? His first public miracle… John 2:1-11…. He gave them the best gift!
  2. What does Christianity offer when someone is going through difficult times? (Psalm 50:15, Philippians 4:6-8, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
  3. What value are the elderly in our society? (Proverbs 16:31, Job 12:12)

WATCH THE TRAILER

 

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Russell Matthews

Russell loves film and enjoys engaging in discussions about the latest cinema offerings and then connecting this with the Gospel. He has worked for City Bible Forum for over 10 years, is a reviewer for Insights Magazine and Entertainment Fuse and has a blog called Russelling Reviews. He moderates events for Reel Dialogue which connect the film industry with the general public.