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Table 19 Movie Review

It’s time for another movie review presented by our good friends over at FatCats Gilbert on the southwest corner of Greenfield and Baseline! FatCats Gilbert is the best place to see all of the latest releases at the box office! To see all showtimes and to purchase tickets, you can click right HERE!

It’s a busy week in movie reviews, so I figured that I’d start with one that everyone is looking forward to. Truth be told, other than recalling it on my Top 100 Most Anticipated Movies of 2017 list, I didn’t know anything about this movie. I knew that Anna Kendrick was the lead.  That’s a positive. I knew that Craig Robinson, Lisa Kudrow, Tony Revolori, Wyatt Russell, and Stephen Merchant were also in the film. Again, all positive. Other than that, I wasn’t sure. Is Table 19 the table at the wedding where all the outcasts and weirdos sit? If so, I didn’t know that was a common thing. Anyways, I’m not here to talk about titles. I’m here to talk about the movie, so let’s do it!

Table 19 is directed by Jeffrey Blitz and stars Anna Kendrick, Lisa Kudrow, Craig Robinson, Tony Revolori, Stephen Merchant, June Squibb, and Wyatt Russell. After planning an entire wedding for her BFF, Eloise, played by Kendrick, is dumped over a text by her boyfriend of two years. Oh yeah. Her boyfriend is the brother of her BFF. Can you say awkward? Of course, this makes things weird between Eloise and her friend which causes her to contemplate attending the wedding at all. She ends up going, but she’s at Table 19 with all of the people who should have just sent a nice gift instead of actually showing up.

We’ll start with the positives as we almost always do. This movie has some heart. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from an indie comedy about a wedding, and I figured this was going to be one of those movies that Anna Kendrick is in simply to stack her filmography. It might be all of those things, but it still has a little tiny bit of heart. The best way I could describe Table 19 would be to say that someone saw The Breakfast Club and wondered what it would look like at a modern wedding. I’m not kidding when I say that this movie is about a group of people who come together from extremely different backgrounds, are somewhat outcasts in their respective lives, and use this story to get closer to each other and bring out the best in each other after getting high and spilling the truth. They then have a dancing scene where they’re alone at the wedding. They also have multiple scenes where they frantically run around the hotel and take something without being seen. I almost expected Anna Kendrick to walk out of the hotel to “Don’t You Forget About Me” while she fist pumps into a freeze frame. Actually, now that I think about it, she might as well have done that in Pitch Perfect. I just realized that it’s very possible for Anna Kendrick to be the president of The Breakfast Club fan club. Funny enough, I thought the scenes reminiscent of The Breakfast Club were the best. Those scenes are where we find out everything we know about the characters, and the emotion comes through. We get to the nitty-gritty details that are below the surface of our main characters, and it actually became pleasant and heart-felt. I also think there is some good situational comedy to be found in this film. The best jokes play off the characters’  flaws, and when we see them in vulnerable emotional states, the humor is easy to find.

Table 19 is slightly charming, but the nicest thing I can find to say is that it’s a decent television movie. Everything about this film screams TV. It has TV-thin writing, a TV-thin narrative, TV-thin characters, and major clichés. The performances go far above television movie level, but the story is your average, completely by-the-book television love story that you see coming from a mile away. As we start to see all of the information come together that you could probably gather simply by knowing movie clichés, you start to realize that everything is going in an expected direction with an expected ending. The film broke away from the formulaic predictability for a second, and I was excited. I thought that we were going to get an ending that showed character growth and progression, but we don’t. We’re trained the entire movie to dislike a character, then one fact-drop redeems him instantly, and the audience is supposed to roll with that. To be honest, I still hated him a bit after the movie was over. I didn’t hate him because he was a bad person. I hated him because he was so thin and had such a quick transition from a plot device to a different type of plot device. I also think that the movie has a lot of misplaced comedy. I mentioned that I liked the scenes where we learn about the characters and they get their shining moment to pour their hearts out to the other members of this odd group. I was emotionally connected during those scenes, but all of a sudden we would cut to a scene at a wedding in which some random character is delivering a joke or getting way too much screen time because the writers think that going up on a stage drunk and throwing a microphone is funny. It completely took me out of the moments that had emotional resonance, and the unevenness took a toll on my enjoyment of the film.

Overall, Table 19 is a solid TV movie. It probably shouldn’t be in theaters, but if it ends up on Netflix one day and you want to watch a cute, by-the-book, made-for-television movie that is miles upon miles better than Britney Ever After, you may be interested in watching Table 19. It has some good comedy, a bit of heart, and some emotionally compelling moments, but none of those ever amount to enough to make this a great movie. Table 19 is the result of someone who wondered what a film would look like if The Breakfast Club took place at a modern wedding. From characters to story to story structure to almost identical events, this is The Breakfast Club. It will give you exactly what you expected with thin writing, mostly thin characters, and a thin and predictable storyline. Decent performances from a likable cast couldn’t overcome the paint-by-numbers story. I’m going to give Table 19 a 4.5/10.

Will you be seeing Table 19? What are you looking forward to this week? Comment down in the comment section and let me know! On a side note, how bad was Britney Ever After? Oh my goodness. Did it bother anybody else that the actress playing Britney Spears was probably only cast in the role because she’s blonde? All blonde girls obviously look and sound like Britney Spears, so what’s the point of putting any effort into casting? We have Logan to wash the taste out of our mouths, and it delivers. You can check out my review right HERE! As always, thank you, and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!

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Justin Lyons

Hey, it's Justin Lyons! I am the Chief Film Critic for The Pulse. Have any questions for me? Please feel free to email me at movies@pulseradio.fm