Written by Jay Duplass & Mark Duplass
Directed by Jeffrey Blitz
Comedies tend to be a tough craft to pull off. When you know where you’re going: what you’re writing can seem effortless as jokes land without fail, and characters can have personality beyond being engines for jokes. Romantic comedies tend to have this tougher than most due to the need to satisfy a certain arc line and to bring things to a (usually) happy close. Table 19 struggles to reach those Bridesmaids-esque heights, and as a whole struggles to land on much of anything.
That’s a shame since there’s a very strong cast in this movie: one that’s simply underserved and reduced to playing very broad stock characters. And while there are great isolated bits of comedy (i.e Craig Robinson’s wannabe detective shtick, or Tony Revolori constantly looking for at least one woman to give him the time of day), it’s overall bereft of a strong center.
It doesn’t help that the overall plot of the film doesn’t have anything worth saying. Things just happen. It’s an isolated wedding that beyond plot reasons is barely explored. The bride who’s supposedly Anna Kendrick’s best friend is barely present. The core of the film requires you to believe that Anna Kendrick would date and then be dumped by Shaggy, let alone that a large part of the film involves gaslighting. Which isn’t a particularly fun way of selling the film, with comedy gags can certainly carry a film, but they’re not a substitute for a good comedy film. It’s all a shame though because this is an extremely strong cast on hand here, but without a good script, that can be utterly meaningless.
2 Boat Weddings out of 5
(Note this review was thanks to Allied Screenings)