How could this not work? Table 19 boasts the right premise and a top-shelf cast: Anna Kendrick, Stephen Merchant, June Squibb, Craig Robinson and the great Lisa Kudrow as the randos consigned to a wedding reception's least choice table, the one way in the back by the bathrooms. Mostly strangers to each other, the outcasts become a sort of grown-up Breakfast Club, wreaking havoc, learning some lessons, saving the day.
Robinson and Kudrow play a bickering married couple, which was all the reason I needed to give this a shot; that inveterate scene-thief Merchant goes full-daft ne'er-do-well as a white-collar convict on leave and lying at every moment that he's "a normal person" and "a successful businessman." You could guess without seeing a trailer that Squibb's beatific nanny has pot stashed in her purse, or that Kendrick's character should be in the bridal party but has been demoted after being jilted by the best man. What do you want to bet she'll find love by the time the '80s cover band starts packing up?
Everything you would expect happens, but little of it is funny or affecting. Table 19 dashes us away from the wedding so that this crew can mope stoned in the woods, the movie growing as aimless as their baked thoughts. The filmmakers -- director Jeffrey Blitz co-wrote the script with Mark and Jay Duplass -- never commit to a tone, opening with pratfalls and fizzy romantic comedy before striving for Little Miss Sunshine–style life-and-death dysfunction drama. The lessons, like the jokes, are as warmed-over as reception catering. Kendrick, meanwhile, is typically accomplished, not just hitting her marks but finding dizzying variations on them.