Arts & Entertainment

Review of Table 19: The Breakfast Club of the 21st Century

Heartfelt comedy possesses nostalgic 1980’s undertones

By Gabriela Laracca
Art & Entertainment Editor

With a large, butter-soaked popcorn and skittles in hand, I took my seat in an AMC theatre to experience one of my favorite movies of 2017 thus far. Since its release on March 3, Table 19 has faced harsh scrutiny from critics due to its cliché feel-good nature. However, I feel entirely different.

With a pot-smoking elderly nanny and beloved leading actors including Anna Kendrick, Lisa Kudrow and Craig Robinson, this flick had me dying and spilling my snacks from the opening credits.

The film centers on a group of misfit wedding attendees who were placed at the “Random’s table,” for various reasons. The main character, Eloise McGarry (Kendrick), was once the bride’s best friend and maid-of-honor. Not to mention she is pregnant with the best man’s (and Francie’s brother’s) baby, which is revealed later in the film. When her and best man Teddy (Wyatt Russell) split, she lost this status.

The other members of the table are middle-aged couple Bina and Jerry Kepp (Kudrow and Robinson,) awkward teenager, Renzo Eckberg (Tony Revolori,) cousin Walter (Steve Merchant) and sweet old Nanny Jo (June Squibb.) The Kepps are business friends with the father of the bride, Francie (Rya Meyers.) It is unclear how Renzo knows Francie aside from his mother forcing him to attend in order to meet a girl. Cousin Walter is a thief living in a halfway house and Nanny Jo was Francie and Teddy’s childhood caregiver.

As outcasted as they come, the wedding guests of Table 19 feel out of place throughout the entire film. Similar to The Breakfast Club or other 80s feel-good flicks, they quickly become close, knowing all the details of each other’s lives.

They all find out that Eloise is pregnant, Bina is trying to cheat on Jerry, Rezno has an insane mother, Walter embezzled over 100K from the father of the bride and Nanny Jo is a pot-smoking, badass cat lady. Again, similar to The Breakfast Club, they all retreat to Nanny Jo’s hotel room to smoke marijuana and become friends after accidentally wrecking the wedding cake.

While Teddy and Eloise are arguing about her attendance to the wedding, the five-tier monster of a cake crashes to the floor. Luckily, Eloise’s disloyal, wedding-crasher love interest is holding a wedding of his own.

So, the only obvious choice is to steal his cake. In a hilarious scene, Walter’s kleptomania shines through as he sprints through the hotel hallways with the cake, almost completely paralleling with the scene in The Breakfast Club where the crew is trying to run away from Mr. Vernon without getting caught.

The cake is then replaced and the rest of the movie is open to delve deeper into other dramas. The Kepp’s marriage seemed rocky from the start.

Both Bina and Jerry had told the other that they were not attending the wedding but they both showed. It is revealed that Bina attended to have an affair with the man she lost her virginity to in high school, but he did not show.

Eloise and Teddy’s drama is resolved. Aside from fighting the entire movie and the presence of Teddy’s new model-status girlfriend, he pulls Eloise aside and tells her he still wants to be a father. He reveals that he abandoned her because he felt that he could never live up to her expectations or be good enough for her.

By the end of the film, even though the audience hates Teddy all throughout, it ends in an “aww” moment when as the wedding after-party boat departs, Eloise screams her feelings across the lake to him. And although delayed, he jumps off the boat, swims back to the hotel and it all ends in a rekindled relationship.

While yes, this is a cheesy, cliché feel-good movie, this reporter does not feel that is a bad thing. Table 19 ensues the same nostalgic and heart warming feelings of the 1980s classics.

It is a must see for comedy fans, chick flick lovers and 80s movie gurus alike.

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