A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Table 19 is a fairly racy/mature ensemble comedy with bite. Despite its quirky-whimsical tone, it deals with fairly intense subjects, including marital boredom, infidelity, pregnancy, cancer, and embezzlement (though the latter is played for laughs). Characters also discuss the possibility of abortion, the politics of breakups, the loneliness of a horny teenager, and more. A man's naked backside is seen, and a couple is shown showering together after a fight (no graphic nudity). There's other frank sex talk, as well as swearing (including "s--t," "a--hole," and one "f--k"). You can also expect some drinking (sometimes to inebriation) and pot smoking. Anna Kendrick, Craig Robinson, and Lisa Kudrow are among the many recognizable cast members.
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What's the story?
Eloise (Anna Kendrick) is a guest at her oldest friend's wedding. But rather than being placed at a table filled with other longtime besties, she's been relegated to the farthest one: TABLE 19. It's a collection of people who, as one character describes it, ought to have had the sense to RSVP no. That includes Walter (Stephen Merchant), a relative who's transitioning out of prison by living in a halfway house of sorts and has forgotten how to relate to others not stuck inside; Jo (June Squibb), who helped raise the bride and her brother, Teddy (Wyatt Russell), but has long been removed from their daily lives; Bina (Lisa Kudrow) and Jerry (Craig Robinson), a married couple the bride's family knows through business and who can barely stand each other; and a teen acquaintance, Renzo (Tony Revolori), who's preoccupied with meeting a girl (or a woman) at the wedding and possibly seducing her. Eloise and Teddy have recently broken up, and now the wedding she helped plan is proceeding along nicely pretty much without her. Meanwhile, her ex-boyfriend is paired up with the maid of honor, having seemingly moved on. There's also a handsome stranger named Huck (Thomas Cocquerel) who mysteriously arrives on the scene, possibly to sweep Eloise off her feet. But bigger problems loom, and then there's the fact that she's stuck with all these strangers -- but maybe they actually have more rapport than she expects?
Is it any good?
This comedy is gifted with an interesting (and in a few cases, brilliant) cast, but it's a disappointment -- the players are in dire need of a better script. Though there are flashes of ingenuity in Table 19 -- the very idea of making a film about people placed at the least desirable table at a wedding is one of them, as is a red-herring plot point about a new love that ends up resolving differently -- it doesn't deliver on its promise. The motley crew at the heart of the film doesn't quite gel (with the exception of Kudrow and Robinson, who have great chemistry and should do a movie or TV series on their own), and the reasons they've been deemed lowest-guests-on-the-wedding-totem-pole aren't all that compelling.
Plus, Table 19 tries too hard to be eccentric. Walter and Renzo specifically feel added on for no reason other than to be quirky. And the message about love and marriage feels vague at best. What is it trying to say? That love is messy? We already knew that. That couples sometimes don't seem like they fit? Again, not all that surprising. That weddings collect the most random list of guests? See: Four Weddings and a Funeral, which did this much better. Except for its premise and standout performances from Kendrick and Kudrow, Table 19 leaves viewers aching for a happily ever after.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Table 19 deals with sex and relationships. How is marriage depicted? Does it seem realistic? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values on these topics.
One of the characters is a teen who seems very focused on how he can be cool and attract women. Is his portrayal so over the top that it's off-putting? What about the other characters?
Talk about Eloise and Teddy's break-up and what causes it. Is their conflict relatable? How is their relationship typical of, and different from, other movies in this genre?
- In theaters: March 3, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: June 13, 2017
- Cast: Anna Kendrick, Lisa Kudrow, Craig Robinson
- Director: Jeffrey Blitz
- Studio: Fox Searchlight
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 87 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: thematic elements, sexual content, drug use, language and some brief nudity
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