If you’ve ever wondered what became of the early 21st century cinematic genre known as mumblecore (and who among us hasn’t?), a hokey style that launched the career of Greta Gerwig (gee, thanks!), you need look no further than Table 19 (Fox Searchlight). Co-written by mumblecore progenitors and brothers Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass, "Table 19" is one of the most unappealing rom-coms in recent memory.
While the concept is clever – wedding guests described as “randoms” seated together at a table closest to the bathroom and furthest from the bride and groom -- the execution is lousy. What did they do to deserve such a distinction? Eloise (Anna Kendrick), the bride’s “oldest friend” was unceremoniously dumped by the bride’s brother/best man Teddy (Wyatt Russell, son of Goldie and Kurt, in need of shampoo and a haircut) by text, thereby forcing her to forfeit her role as maid of honor. The bride’s former nanny Jo (June Squibb) was a revenge-invite because the groom’s nanny was also invited. Ex-con cousin Walter (Stephen Merchant) appears to be there as a reminder to the bride’s father of the unfortunate financial decision he made that resulted in his imprisonment. Married and bickering diner-owners Bina (Lisa Kudrow) and Jerry (Craig Robinson) are there because they are in the same business as the bride’s father, although Bina has an ulterior motive. And awkward teen Rezno (Tony Revolori) is some kind of distant relative.
It may not be easy to pinpoint who is most miserable at Table 19 (and that includes those in the theater), but our focus is probably supposed to be on Eloise, especially since her text break-up occurred when she revealed to Teddy that she is pregnant. Perhaps it is Eloise’s subtle glow that attracts wedding-crasher-with-a-secret Huck (Thomas Cocquerel) to her, resulting in dance-floor moves that get Teddy’s attention.
Replacing dialogue and interactions with pratfalls, including a wedding cake catastrophe, the movie is a series of downers punctuated by failed attempts at humor. In the case of Table 19, audiences would be wise to check “unable to attend” when the invitation arrives. Rating: D