There’s always that one group of people at any party who get invited but no one really expects to turn up, yet when they do, the easiest thing to do is stick them all together. In this instance, this is Table 19, a comedy-drama from Transparent’s Jay Duplass and Review w/Forrest Macneil’s Jeffrey Blitz, about the last table at the wedding, the one closest to the kitchens and the toilets. It manages to pack in quite a few US comedy big-hitters including Anna Kendrick, Lisa Kudrow, Stephen Merchant, Tony Revolori & Review’s own Andy Daly but with a pedigree such as that, could it live up to the potential.
It’s worth noting that especially on the TV instead of the big screen, the small screen limitations are clear as it can feel like a feature length sitcom episode more than a truly cinematic piece. Yet, watching it in this format, makes it feel more appropriate and unveils its unique little charm. From the off, Table 19 seems to have more than a little The Breakfast Club to its DNA as a collection of faintly archetypal guests all gather in one location, immediately they butt heads but a few hijinx, some shared marijuana and some bold honesty later and they all fashion like a unit and learning along the way.
What really makes the piece work is that it does put its talented cast front and centre with Kendrick showing all the charisma and empathy that has made her such a likeable star with many other getting affecting storylines along with surprisingly big laughs, unsurprisingly a lot of them coming from Stephen Merchant, a man who has near-perfected the art of playing slightly sweet, slightly weird oddballs. The film mildly lets down Lisa Kudrow who despite putting in a fascinating brittle, melancholic performance, is partnered with Craig Robinson who seems to be stuck in second gear for most of the film. Well you didn’t think I wouldn’t throw in one Friends joke did you?
It’s an easy movie to recommend or not as it is very much exactly what you’d expect. If you are in need of an unassuming, modest little joy that you can work out a lot of what’s going to happen in the first fifteen minute, something to pass away a lazy afternoon, it’s perfect. It doesn’t transcend its sit-rom-com trappings but it doesn’t need to and frankly, if that’s not for you, I don’t know why you’d be reading this. Don’t go into it expecting the world because you won’t find but if you can accept it for its flaws, there’s a lot to like here.
Dir: Jeffrey Blitz
Scr: Jeffrey Blitz, Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Craig Robinson, June Squibb, Lisa Kudrow, Tony Revolori, Stephen Merchant, Wyatt Russell, Andy Daly, Maria Thayer
Prd: Shawn Levy, Tom McNulty, Mark Roberts
DOP: Ben Richardson
Music: John Swihart
Run time: 87 minutes
Table 19 is Out on DVD, Blu-Ray & Digital Download Now