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Table 19’ stumbles through a series of stale jokes

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Kendrick gets stuck with the weirdos.

Two stars

Table 19 Anna Kendrick, Lisa Kudrow, Craig Robinson. Directed by Jeffrey Blitz. Rated PG-13. Opens Friday in select theaters.

The premise of Table 19 sounds like the idea for a mediocre network sitcom—possibly because it was. The NBC sitcom The Singles Table, about the mismatched people exiled to a far-off table at a wedding, shot six episodes that never aired in 2007, and Table 19 could easily be similarly forgotten. Anna Kendrick leads an overqualified cast as Eloise, consigned to the table of misfits after getting dumped by the bride’s brother and relinquishing her position as maid of honor. She’s joined by a bickering married couple (Lisa Kudrow and Craig Robinson), an ex-con cousin (Stephen Merchant), a horny teenager (Tony Revolori) and the bride’s childhood nanny (June Squibb).

Although Eloise is the movie’s main focus, all of her tablemates get their own subplots, which clutters up the poorly paced and choppily edited 87-minute movie, especially in its second half. The tone also clumsily veers from dopey slapstick (hmm, will someone accidentally knock over the wedding cake?) to heavy seriousness, without succeeding at either. Eloise’s truncated rom-com storyline feels rushed and unconvincing, and the feeble running jokes never land. It’s hard to believe that indie stalwarts Mark and Jay Duplass came up with the story, or that writer-director Jeffrey Blitz gave Kendrick an early breakout role in 2007’s Rocket Science. All of them should be able to produce something better than a canceled sitcom.

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