REVIEW: “TABLE 19” (2017) Fox Searchlight

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Director Jeffrey Blitz and The Duplass Brothers writing team takes the approach with this one that I know many wedding guests would prefer – skip the wedding and head straight to the reception. Another wise move is assembling a very talented ensemble of funny folks. This cast proves they can get a laugh from dialogue and moments that would probably otherwise not elicit much of an audience reaction because frankly, it’s only the fact that they are talented that makes it happen.

The initial set-up drags a bit as we are introduced to the characters that will soon enough populate the dreaded Table 19 at the reception. Tony Revolori is Renzo, the longing for love high schooler who might be a bit too close to his mother (voiced by Margo Martindale). Lisa Kudrow and Craig Robinson are Bina & Jerry Kepp, a mostly unhappily married couple who own and run a diner together. June Squibb is Jo Flanagan, the bride’s long-forgotten nanny who sees and knows more than most. Stephen Merchant plays the outcast nephew/cousin Walter Thimple, who has been recently released from his prison sentence for white collar crime. Lastly we have Anna Kendrick as Eloise McGarry, the fired maid of honor and former girlfriend of the bride’s brother Teddy (Wyatt Russell), who also happens to be the best man and is now dating the new maid of honor Nikki (Amanda Crew)
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This is the island of misfit wedding guests known as Table 19, and purposefully placed in the back corner as far as possible from the family and the other more ‘favoured’ guests. Of course we know immediately that this Team Reject will unite for some uplifting purpose at some point. Comedic timing in a group setting can often come across on screen as forced, and it’s a kudos to the cast that can bypass that..somewhat. Stephen Merchant is our shining star here on that note with his droll Brit humour.

Make no mistake though, this is Anna Kendrick’s movie. She plays Eloise as we would imagine Anna Kendrick in this real life situation. Sure, a wedding reception is low-hanging fruit for comedy, but it’s the third act where Kendrick comes up with comedy drawn from emotional pain, because we’ve all been there and thankfully can look back and laugh at it. The melo-dramatic moments that creep in are oh-so-predictable, but that doesn’t mean it’s all lost. The scenes with Kendrick and Russell are best at the emotional part, but not enough so that it would really leave you wishing for more. In actuality that’s where this film slips up. I was hoping for more comedy, less emotional drama and while we get about a 2/3 – 1/3 ratio of drama to comedy, I wish it would have gone the direction of more laughs as the emotional front isn’t enough to sustain the film as a whole.
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Don’t worry though, the film features the required wedding cake mishap, a flirtatious hot-Brit wedding crasher named Huck with a secret of his own (Thomas Cocquerel) and a drunken mother of the bride (Becky Ann Baker) singing karaoke to Etta James’ “At Last”. It’s designed to be a crowd-pleaser, and while it doesn’t quite step up enough to really down and out laugh, it does somewhat succeed as rom-com-ish with a blend of silly, cute, and emotional tugs. Just not enough laughs.

Grade: C-
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Media Review Screening: Wednesday, March 1, 2017 ~ Courtesy of Fox Searchlight
Nationwide Release: Friday, March 3, 2017

Thanks all for taking the time to give this a read. Let me know your thoughts if you liked this film or not. Don’t forget to give this page a follow or a follow on twitter as well @pegsatthemovies. Cheers!

COUNTDOWN TO THE OSCARS ~ Day 2 ~ BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

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While I liked this movie and thought Sally’s performance was a good one, at the time, I didn’t think ‘oh this is an Oscar worthy performance’ I just thought it good. So for me, she is not the winner here ..more like an honorable mention I guess. sorry..

As you know I did love this movie and usually love Jennifer more.. Oh don’t doubt me that she wasn’t good, as she was and yeah..the nomination is deserved but maybe it’s the fact that in comparison to some of the others, there wasn’t as much screen time. Yes, I know Judi Dench won for like 10 min onscreen once..but here I don’t it think it should be. Will she win? most likely and I won’t be upset over it.

Yeah I know, everyone loves her and I think she’s been standout in all the fashion leading up to this night to and will probably boggle us with another beautiful dress etc.. And hands down, it was a good performance, but again, same complaint as I have with the movie..choppy..another ‘would not be upset’ though.. 🙂

While I really didn’t like this movie as I felt I’ve seen it before a few too many times, one of the 1st things I said when leaving was..Julia was really good.  Both her & Julianne Nicholson held their own against a always strong Meryl Streep, and that is nothing to take lightly..it’s not an easy feat even if you are a REALLY good actress..  She’s my runner-up…

Why is Julia Roberts my runner-up you ask.. because yep.. I am being the sucker here and going for the senior club.. June Squibb was simply put..wonderful in this role.  She’s been acting almost all her life, we’ve never known who she was really..then BOOM at 84 years old..YES I SAID EIGHTY FOUR YEARS OLD – she comes out an wows us with a funny, sarcastic, over the top crochety old persons performance that is sure to never be forgotten. That is why she is my pick.. 

Till tomorrow all when I roll onto Best Director… until then…#peggyatthemovies