With her best friend’s wedding right around the corner, Eloise (Anna Kendrick) finds herself pulling out of the maid of honor duties after her boyfriend, who also happens to be the best man and brother of the bride, breaks up with her over text. She has difficulty deciding whether or not to even attend the wedding, but after some hilarious indecision, she opts to go. When she arrives, Eloise finds herself seated at Table 19, which is essentially a table of random people who didn’t fit at any of the other tables. This includes Jerry and Bina Kepp (Craig Robinson and Lisa Kudrow), diner owners who are dealing with a troubled marriage, Renzo (Tony Revolori), a high school junior who was pushed to attend the wedding by his mother in order to find a girlfriend, Walter Thimble (Stephen Merchant), the bride’s cousin who is currently in a halfway house as part of his sentencing for embezzlement, and Jo (June Squibb), the bride and best man’s former nanny.
It’s clear that Eloise and Teddy (Wyatt Russell), the best man, haven’t been apart for very long, but he has already moved on with the new maid of honor, Nikki (Amanda Crew). Eloise struggles through the reception, but things are looking up when she meets a mysterious wedding crasher named Huck (Thomas Cocquerel, who I could have sworn was a Hemsworth cousin). Eloise isn’t the only one dealing with personal issues either. Over the course of the evening, the rest of the table has to face some painful truths of their own.
Anna Kendrick is one of those actresses that I find to be inherently likable, even if her character isn’t and she’s definitely an actress that can carry a movie on her back if she has to. Thankfully I enjoyed the rest of the cast as well. Although to be honest, Kudrow and Robinson playing a married couple threw me off, only because I kept thinking “Phoebe and Darryl got married!”. June Squibb was so sweet and charming, and frankly, Stephen Merchant could star in complete trash and still make me laugh. Wyatt Russell looks like the part of the douchey ex-boyfriend, but thankfully he gives Teddy actual personality and depth, which keeps him from becoming the bland, one-dimensional catalyst to Eloise finding herself and her own happiness.
Written by Mark and Jay Duplass, Table 19 has plenty of humor and heart. While Eloise is the focal point of the movie, the script also gives the entire ensemble a chance to shine. It deals with a lot of deeper issues than just love – pregnancy, cancer, infidelity – but I found it perfectly balanced the drama and comedy. A couple of times I couldn’t help but think this was the longest wedding reception ever, but I was never bored. If you’re here, then obviously you know I love my rom-coms, and one of my favorite rom-com tropes is the Grand Gesture. This movie had one of my favorites, especially with how Kendrick delivered it – it just made my rom-com heart so happy.
To be honest, I was expecting a by the book rom-com, but this movie took me by surprise. Sure, there are some expected wedding shenanigans, but for the most part, Table 19 takes an unconventional path to the happy ending, and I truly appreciated that.