‘Table 19’ Has Little to Celebrate

‘Table 19,’ despite a refreshing concept to the rom-com formula, swing-dances around too many subplots to make itself worthy of your heartstrings.

‘Table 19’ plays like a quick cuddle, leaving you with your arms stretched out for more.

table 19
Photo courtesy of Steven Zang.

Hear that? The sounds of thrashing wedding bells? The teary-eyed spectators? The joys of love, in its purest form? Well, neither can Table 19.

Director Jeffrey Blitz, with story by Mark and Jay Duplass, attempts to inspire audiences with this new innovative rom-com. It has the potential of corrupted characters and the drive of a unique environment. Better yet, the film carries the edgy style of a John Hughes classic, an ode to the rejects and the big-thinkers. Nonetheless, the comedy bites off more than it can chew, besting viewers with a hodgepodge of story arcs and, ultimately, wasted potential.

Eloise (Anna Kendrick) is banished to the “inadequate” table of her best friend’s wedding reception: Table 19. It’s filled to the brim with neurotic strangers, from ex-nanny Jo Flanagan (June Squibb) to bickering diner owners Jerry (Craig Robinson) and Bina Kepp (Lisa Kudrow). As hidden truths come out, though, between the forgotten bunch, Eloise is forced to confront her own fragile romantic ties with the best man.

Table 19 plays like a subtle string of vignettes, intertwined into a solid 87 minutes of innocent charm. However, like most puppets of archetypes, the strings are visible and illusion-breaking.

We want to not only feel for Eloise, we want to reach out to the whole cast of bandits, as well. We want to believe in their cringe-worthy histories. Yet, Blitz packs too much on his plate, to the point where he searches for solidarity rather than catharsis. Emotion falls flat in an effort to tie up ample loose ends, leaving Table 19 flat on the ground.

Table 19 was both cute and funny. Yet, somehow, I had trouble finding anything special about it,” said Julia Zang, both a Garfield native and a generous fan of the genre. “I hoped for more out of the characters, especially since they each have their own wild quirks. It was just too rushed for my taste.”

While Table 19 has some memorable moments, others seem much easier to forget. The setup is fearfully stronger than the payoff, and both the romance and comedy are drowned out by Blitz’s own strenuous blueprints. In the end, one feels neglected of anything new or out-of-the-ordinary, simply stuck with the same old song and dance.

Table 19 is now playing in movie theaters worldwide. Some more local venues include AMC Clifton Commons, AMC Loews Wayne 14 and even Bow Tie Bellevue Cinemas in the heart of Upper Montclair. For a list of even more theaters and showtimes, visit fandango.com today.

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