Table 19

 

                In some respects, we’re all from Table 19.  It’s the one at the back of the room at the wedding reception, the one for the “Random Guests,” that have a marginal kind of relationship to the bride and/or groom.  In fact, they’re the ones that really weren’t expected to send in the RSVP.  They were supposed to just send regrets and then go online for a nice gift at the registry.  But they all did the unexpected---they showed up.  And so this disparate group of strangers is now thrown together for what promises to be a long, awkward evening.

                First, there’s the bride’s best friend, Eloise (Anna Kendrick), who was recently unceremoniously dumped by her fiancée, the bride’s brother, and best man.  She’s conflicted, she’s embarrassed, she’s angry, she’s reluctantly single, and she decides to come to the wedding, anyway, so she can keep telling herself that her “change of status” is a good thing.   Also at the table, the old Nanny, a cousin of the groom who’s on special leave from his Halfway House following his prison stint for embezzlement.  Then there’s the argumentative couple who are casual business associates, and a horny high school boy who’s trying desperately to fit in, but the harder he tries, the worse it gets.

                Yes, the characters are caricatures, and yes, it’s sitcom-formulaic.  But there are some moments.  Anna Kendrick is always good for the cute-but-vulnerable girl-next-door role.  Veteran comic actor Lisa Kudrow adds some unexpectedly poignant moments.  If you like awkward humor, there’s a lot to enjoy here.  But sometimes it can’t decide whether to be mean-spirited or sappy sweet, so it veers between the two with even a little desperate romance thrown in, and it’s not the bridge and groom, either, who seem to be minor characters at their own wedding.

                Maybe, from the point of view of the guest list, we were minor characters when we were the bride and groom.  We just assumed we were more important than we really are.  Which makes us perfect prospects for Table 19.

 

Questions For Discussion:

1)                  Have you ever sat at a Table 19?

2)                  Did you know everyone at your own wedding reception?

3)                  When have you found yourself making an unlikely emotional connection with a stranger?

 

Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, DFW Film Critics Association