Thanks to Fox Searchlight Screenings, I was able to attend an early viewing of the latest comedy feature from the Duplass brothers, Table 19.
The premise of the movie is the Eloise (played by always-lovable Anna Kendrick) was the maid of honor for her friend’s wedding until her boyfriend, Teddy, who is the bride’s brother and the best man, dumps her via text. She drops out of the bridal party 2 months before the wedding and is relegated to Table 19, the rejects table where the obligatory invites who weren’t gracious enough to RSVP no are sitting. Her tablemates are Bina and Jerry Kepp (Lisa Kudrow and Craig Robinson), a married couple that owns a diner, Nanny Jo (June Squibb), the bride’s (and Eloise’s ex’s) elderly childhood nanny, Walter (Stephen Merchant), the cousin of the bride who got leave from his prison sentence to attend the wedding, and Renzo (Tony Revolori), the teenage boy skipping his junior prom in the hopes of having better luck with getting lucky at a wedding.
It’s a table of weirdos, yes.
TL;DR I found the movie mildly charming and fairly funny, but ultimately I found it a little too indie-comedy in that the pacing and storytelling were strange and off. The audience is left scratching its head at a lot of what is happening, strange personalities aside, because not enough time is spent developing motivations and plot points and, instead, spent on quirkier sequences that don’t add as much to the story. I can’t highly recommend the movie, but it’s not a bad way to pass the time at the movies.
Table 19 is in theaters this weekend. (Discussion with spoilers after the trailer.)
CollegeHumor recently made a feature-length film titled Coffee Town. I didn’t have any clue about the movie until I saw a little post on the Tumblr Radar, which I’m assuming they had sponsored for promoting the film. Otherwise, I hadn’t heard very much about it, but I entered to win free tickets to view an advanced screening, since the film doesn’t premiere for another 2 weeks. (It’s available for rent on iTunes right now, however.)
Disclaimer: I was able to watch this movie courtesy of CollegeHumor. I am not being paid to write the review but the screening was free for me and a friend. (Information about screenings and the possibility of attending for free at the end.)
CollegeHumor’s first feature film!! Coffee Town is a workplace comedy for the generation that increasingly doesn’t work out of a traditional office. When a 30-something website manager who uses local café as his office learns of plans to convert the space into a bar, he enlists the help of his two best friends to help save his freeloading existence. Directed by Brad Copeland (Arrested Development), the film’s all-star comedy cast includes Glenn Howerton (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Steve Little (Eastbound & Down), Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation), Adrianne Palicki (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) and Josh Groban (Crazy, Stupid, Love).
This movie was much funnier than I thought it would be. The trailer gave me very low expectations for the movie. I also had some kind of pre-conceived notion that a feature film produced by a company that specialized in short web content wouldn’t be very good.
I was very wrong and I’m happy I was wrong.
There aren’t many movies that I can immediately name that have had me laughing throughout the majority of the length of the movie like Coffee Town did. I was also laughing out loud a lot, which I don’t normally do so much at the movies. (I am an inside-my-head laugher.) Even though there weren’t very many people at DC screening (I’d say 20 people tops) everyone was cracking UP.
I think part of the movie’s success comes from the fact that it didn’t take itself too seriously. It is fully aware of how ridiculous its jokes are, which allows them to push the jokes a little farther than “safe” while still be really funny. These are the kinds of jokes that you normally don’t laugh at in a cinema. It’s the same kind of humor that you find on CollegeHumor.com, but feature-length.
The movie blasted by. I didn’t even realize that an hour and a half had passed when the credits started rolling. That’s always a good sign, when you don’t feel the time passing during the movie. It didn’t seem like a streeeeeeetched out Internet video. It was just good jokes throughout the entire movie. There’s the little romantic subplot with the girl, which didn’t matter much, and the movie knows that. They don’t try very hard on that and I appreciated that. They used this subplot as an opportunity for more humor, which they took full advantage of. CollegeHumor definitely did a great job of taking advantage of every possible moment for comedy.
I didn’t care much for the characters, but they just managed to be not-annoying enough to make me think they weren’t funny. Normally, I really hate those dumb characters in comedies, with no redeeming qualities and who serve no purpose other than to screw everything up. But the characters here toed the line very carefully and managed to be hilarious.
I personally thought Josh Groban shined in this movie. My friend was surprised to see him acting, but he was really funny. I think I can chalk that up to a good screenplay, but the protagonist (played by Glenn Howerton) definitely was overshadowed by the other, more interesting characters.
If you are at all intrigued by this movie, I highly highly recommend you try to check out a screening near you. The screenings left are:
Atlanta, GA (Midtown Art Cinema) – July 17
St. Louis, MO (Plaza Frontenac) – July 18
Minneapolis, MN (Lagoon Cinema) – July 19
Chicago, IL (Logan Square Theatre) – July 21
Detroit, MI (Main Art Theater) – July 22
Get tickets for a free screening of Coffee Town and/or We Are the Millershere. You have a really good shot, and I think it’s worth it to try.