The (Wedding Reception) Breakfast Club
Table 19 revolves around Eloise (Anna Kendrick), the supposed maid of honor of the bride-to-be Francie. At the last minute, however, Eloise is stripped of her status after being dumped by Francie’s brother Teddy (Wyatt Russell).
Going back and forth between attending the wedding or not, Eloise ultimately decides to attend, and so ends up in Table 19, a table for people who were not really supposed to be invited but were invited only out of courtesy, a table so far that from there you could smell the bathroom. Other guests in Table 19 include Francie’s childhood nanny Jo (June Squibb), the quarreling, diner-owning couple, Jerry (Craig Robinson) and Bina Kepps (Lisa Kudrow); the teen desperate to find a date Renzo (Tony Revolori); and the groom’s creepy cousin Walter (Stephen Merchant).
Upon arriving at the wedding reception, Eloise gets acquainted with the wedding-crashing Henry (Andy Stahl), with whom she forms an instant connection with. Teddy then catches the eyes of Eloise, and Teddy is shocked to see his ex-girlfriend, asking her to leave since she would just ruin the wedding. The upset Eloise gets followed by Jo, who actually has a hunch as to why the two broke up. The other guests of Table 19 huddle over the upset Eloise and leave the reception, knowing that no one would actually notice their absence. The movie then proceeds to go over the individual struggles of each of the Table 19 guests, not different from what happened in The Breakfast Club.
Anna Kendrick. I know, Anna Kendrick is a very polarizing actress. Some people really like her, while some people don’t. It usually boils down to the fact that all the characters she plays in her movies are really similar. So if you like Anna Kendrick in previous work, you’ll probably like her in Table 19 as well. I belong to the camp of people who like Anna Kendrick.
Subverts rom-com tropes. I really can’t say anything without spoiling the movie, but I particularly like how the Teddy-Eloise-Henry love triangle plays out.
Trying too hard to be funny. Table 19 isn’t really subtle with its humor. There are certain instances when the movie tries to sneak in a laugh, such as when a character trips in the woods or when the Kepps get lost in the woods after a fight. These moments obviously serve to lighten the mood, but it’s actually cringey how the movie tries too hard.
Unfunny running gags. Renzo and Walter’s individual storylines get old pretty fast. Renzo’s effort to find a girl, with his mother constantly ringing him up to get updates and offer advice, spans the whole length of the movie. His social awkwardness isn’t really particularly funny, and I feel like his role is unnecessary for the overall narrative. Walter, on the other hand, tries to hide from the other guests the fact that he’s an ex-con and lives in a halfway house. Him trying to weasel out of answering questions about his life and job is kind of boring and takes up a big chunk of the early part of the film.
Too many plots and caricature characters. A lot of stuff happen in the 87-minute runtime of the movie, and it feels as if it’s a case of ‘quantity over quality’. Since each guest of Table 19 has to be given the spotlight, the movie has very little time to develop the characters, and they all ended up feeling like caricatures. The only exceptions are Anna Kendrick’s Eloise and June Squibb’s loveable-yet-slightly-annoying Jo. It also feels unnatural for the group to stick together and bond – I don’t really see it happening in real life.
In theory, Table 19 is an interesting movie. By having so many characters and plot lines, Table 19, in actuality, becomes a shallow and unnecessary mess. They could have removed Renzo, the Kepps, or Walter and I think it would have been a better movie. The worst thing is, the movie is not really funny. Watch it if you like Anna Kendrick. If not, don’t bother.
Table 19 is currently rotten, scoring 23%.