You really don’t want to take a seat at “Table 19,” a lame excuse for a comedy that would have been better presented as a brief stage skit or sitcom episode.
Table 19, in this instance, is a kind of “leftovers” table at a wedding. Even the guests at the table know that they are not as welcome as the other guests – after all, they go to great lengths to figure out how they became the wedding pariahs assigned to low-social-standing seating.
The main character is Eloise (Anna Kendrick), who is a longtime friend of the bride. We watch as she laboriously accepts, refuses and then ultimately accepts her invitation. Eloise fell from grace because she was dumped, via text, by the bride’s brother Teddy (Wyatt Russell, “22 Jump Street,” the son of Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn.)
Craig Robinson and Lisa Kudrow play a squabbling married couple who barely can stand to be around each other. June Squibb (“Nebraska”) was the childhood nanny of the bride. Stephen Merchant (starring on a neighboring screen in “Logan”) is an awkward cousin of the bride.
Tony Revolori (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”) is a teen-ager in search of, uh, a little female companionship, and apparently has been dispatched to the wedding by his mother (ew!) for that very purpose.
The cast is full of capable performers, and I wanted to give it a break, so I tried to ignore its jagged transitions to dull to painfully unfunny to disgusting and back again. But its uneven tone wears thin quickly, as do its excuses for characters.
Oh! Look! There’s a big wedding cake. Guess what’s going to happen? You got it. Guess why Eloise is so upset? Yep, you can guess that one, too.
Director Jeffrey Blitz also helmed the wonderful documentary “Spellbound” and the little-known “Rocket Science,” which also starred Kendrick in one of her first film roles.
Brothers Jay and Mark Duplass, who have written some wonderful screenplays, including “Jeff, Who Lives at Home” and “Cyrus,” wrote this lackluster screenplay, which meanders all over the place as if looking for a real joke or comical moment. The characters are weird, and they’re awkward, but they’re not funny. The Duplass siblings generally have an ear for dialogue and wit, so this script comes as a disappointing surprise.
When it’s not being predictable, it’s being lazy, moving the characters around in ridiculous, contrived direction. What a waste of a capable ensemble.
You won’t have any regrets when you pass on this one.