Mediocre comedy enlivened but not quite saved by the effervescent Anna Kendrick
As joyful as they're meant to be, weddings can be emotionally fraught affairs. Jeffrey Blitz's comedy Table 19 tries to capture this, with only semi-successful results. Landing somewhere between the laddishness of Wedding Crashers and more sweet-natured fare like The Wedding Singer, the film suggests that at the back of any reception, there's always a table of singletons, oddballs and casual friends.
Anna Kendrick plays Eloise, who was due to sit on the top table until she was dumped by her boyfriend Teddy (Wyatt Russell), brother to the bride. Relegated to the outer reaches of the room, it's no surprise to find Britain's own lanky comic genius Stephen Merchant and The Grand Budapest Hotel's bellhop Tony Revolori sitting alongside her; Revolori is a teen on heat here, and Merchant plays an ex-con telling anyone who'll listen that he's a successful businessman.
More imaginatively cast are Lisa Kudrow and The Office's Craig Robinson as an argumentative married couple who co-own a diner. June Squibb – so memorable in Alexander Payne's Nebraska – also makes it to the table, as the bride's one-time nanny who keeps a bag of pot close by. Eloise, meanwhile, is looking to mend her broken heart. Will love come in the shape of Aussie hunk Huck (Thomas Cocquerel), who crashes the party?
Scripted by Mark and Jay Duplass, the film is more formulaic than their own directorial efforts like Cyrus and Jeff, Who Lives at Home, with director Blitz (Rocket Science) struggling to give this one lift-off. The 80s nostalgia (courtesy of the wedding band) feels cheap and the relationships too engineered. Where it does score is in the casting of Kendrick, a master of the modern-day rom-com. Yet even her effervescent presence isn't enough to save this from mediocrity.
General release from Fri 7 Apr.