Rubber chicken and flat champagne
TABLE 19 Directed by Jeffrey Blitz. Starring Anna Kendrick, Craig Robinson, June Squibb, Lisa Kudrow, Stephen Merchant. 12A cert, limited release, 87 min There is, surely, no need to ask where the idea came from for this so-so ensemble comedy. Almost everybody has been to a wedding. What better way of bringing together a small body of comic characters than placing them round the same table at such an event?
Anna Kendrick plays the former maid of honour who was demoted after breaking up with the best man. June Squib was, long ago, nanny to the bride. Stephen Merchant plays a distant relative who currently lives in a halfway house after serving time for embezzlement. And so on.
Shot in the flat, ugly style we expect from Duplass brothers joints – the mumblecore gurus cowrote the script – Jeffrey Blitz’s film is very much at home to the wretchedness of weddings. The core characters, banished to a table near the lavatory, can’t quite understand why they bothered to attend. The blandly competent 1980s band delivers an aural expression of desperation. The food looks rubbery. The Champagne fails to sparkle.
Not every one of the characters engages. Craig Robinson and Lisa Kudrow bring nothing new to an archetypal bitter couple worn down by years of squabbling. Nobody will fail to guess Squib’s supposed secret. But Merchant is properly funny as a man failing miserably to disguise his unhappy past. And Kendrick is such a whirl of energy that she makes even this underwritten role sparkle.
You’ve almost certainly had a worse time at a real wedding.