Table 19 is casually alternative in some small ways, and shamelessly appeals to my single-girl tendency to cringe at all the silly traditions and unrealistic ideas associated with matrimony. Anna Kendrick plays Eloise, a maid of honor who gets demoted at the last minute after the bride’s brother Teddy (Wyatt Russell) dumps her via text. Still, Eloise’s lowered status at table 19—a collection of misfit randos—inspires her to pursue fun with an impossibly dreamy Australian wedding crasher, Huck (Thomas Cocquerel), and succeed in making Teddy jealous by way of dance. And she bonds with her fellow pariahs: Bored married couple Lisa Kudrow and Craig Robinson; retiree Jo (June Squibb), who’s great about sharing her medical-grade weed; a socially inept and horny teen (Tony Revolori); and Walter (Stephen Merchant), a “successful businessman” who’s really a criminal fresh out of jail.
While Table 19’s whole “messy wedding” plot overpowers a film that’s really about traumatic breakups, family problems, and forgiveness, there are a few good stabs at comedy: I liked seeing Kendrick go from the raw tears of heartbreak to setting fire to her RSVP card. Kudrow accidentally dresses as twinsies with the wedding’s waitstaff, and constantly gets confused for being on the clock. (She later hands her red blazer off to Walter, who embraces his new found role as “the help.”) And Becky Ann Baker—AKA Lena Dunham’s mom on Girls—perfectly plays the bride’s lush of a mother, who does a drunken rendition of Etta James’ “At Last” that’s so off-key it’s nearly unrecognizable.
Though Table 19 hammers home the theme that everyone is a goddamn mess—and while some of its jokes, stunts, and twists are clever enough to hold one’s attention—at its core it’s a typical, gooey romcom. Good thing Anna Kendrick is in it, then—her involvement ends up being crucial to the film’s watchability.