Blu-ray Review: Table 19

By , Contributor
Director Jeffrey Blitz rose to prominence with his 2002 spelling bee documentary Spellbound. Since that Academy Award-nominated film, Blitz has worked mostly in TV. Given the poor performance of his latest feature film, Table 19 (now available from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment), perhaps his talents are more suited to the small screen.

Table 19 is an ensemble comedy that combines elements of The Breakfast Club with those holiday-themed, all-star blowouts by Garry Marshall (Valentine's Day, New Year's Day, Mother's Day). It's mild and generally inoffensive, focused on a group of wedding guests who find themselves seated at the outcast table. Table 19. The one furthest from the ceremony, far away from the key guests. They have seemingly little in common at first, but eventually bond after learning of each other's problems. 
 
table 19 anna kendrick.jpg Eloise (Anna Kendrick) used to be tight with the bride, Francie (Rya Meyers), so much so that she was initially the original maid of honor. But following a breakup between Eloise and Francie's brother, Teddy (Wyatt Russell), their friendship deteriorates. Predictably a lot of Table 19 focuses on whether or not Eloise and Teddy will rekindle their romance. Also at the dreaded table 19: a dotty-but-wise old woman (June Squibb), bickering married couple Bina (Lisa Kudrow) and Jerry (Craig Robinson), socially awkward parolee Walter (Stephen Merchant), and geeky teen Renzo (Tony Revolori). They begin as strangers, end as friends. Much like the John Hughes teens of yesteryear, they sneak away to get high on weed as part of their bonding.

Table 19 somehow made it to theaters for a semi-wide release, where it scared up a few million bucks. But this thing has direct-to-video written all over it. That's not to say it's terrible. There are a few decent laughs scattered throughout, largely thanks to Stephen Merchant's social incompetence. But mostly Table 19 feels like a bunch of people got together and decided to not try very hard. The road to reconciliation between Eloise, Francie, Teddy, et al. simply doesn't provide much intrigue.

Fox's Blu-ray has eight minutes of deleted scenes, a trio of very short EPK featurettes, and a still gallery. Hardcore Anna Kendrick fans are probably the most likely to respond well to Table 19. Anyone else might want to revisit New Year's Day.

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Chaz Lipp is a Seattle-based freelance writer whose focus is film and music. His new jazz album Good Merlin is now available.

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