by Monica Hayes
It’s been said that actors take roles for one or two reasons, either for the acclaim and chance to work on some challenging material or the quick payday. With that being said, Ana Kendrick must have needed a serious vacation from reality for her accept the role of Eloise in Table 19.
The story centers on Eloise (Kendrick) who reluctantly attends the wedding of a friend despite being dumped by the bride’s goofy brother, Teddy (Wyatt Russell) who also happens to be the best man. She has been downgraded from the wedding party table to Table 19 or better yet, the Island of Misfit Toys.
Joining her on this island of misfits are diner owners the Kepps (Craig Robinson and Lisa Kudrow), Jo (June Squibb), the former nanny of the siblings, nerdy and social awkward Renzo (Tony Revolori) and ex-con cousin Walter (Stephen Merchant).
During the reception, the misfits begin to chat about who they are and how they know the happy couple and soon begin to give up secrets about themselves. Eloise tells how she was dumped via text message by the best man and she was only there to prove to herself that she was no longer in love with him. Needless to say, no matter how hard she tried to convince herself, she was proven wrong. Where ever Eloise turned, there was something or someone that reminded her that she should have stayed home: constant encounters with Teddy and his new boo Nikky (Amanda Crew); or when she tried to hook up with the mysterious wedding crasher Huck, only to find out he was a fake.
Kendrick channels her consistent quiet, mousy, shy, low self-esteem, somewhat spastic, victim characterization she ALWAYS plays (The Accountant, Pitch Perfect, Into the Woods and Up In the Air). As usual, her performance in Table 19 is par for the course. Kudrow and Robinson, each who are funny in their own right, are not. Most of the laughs are provided by Cousin Walter (Merchant) who is desperately trying to keep his past a secret.
Table 19 had the promise of being a good comedy but ultimately fails miserably. Despite there being a few funny scenes, this movie will have you in tears, just not tears of joy and laughter.