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Tedious rom-com based on flimsy wedding party premise

??????(M) 87 minutes

If you feel the world doesn’t need any more romantic comedies based around weddings, Jeffrey Blitz’s listless Table 19 is unlikely to change your mind.

The title refers to the table at a wedding dinner occupied by the least desirable guests – a weak premise built on an especially American obsession with ad hoc markers of status.

In Britain, the situation would be straightforwardly about social class; in it’s hard to see the whole issue being given so much weight.

Perhaps that’s why Blitz cast an Aussie, Thomas Cocquerel, as the mystery guest who helps distract the lovelorn heroine (Anna Kendrick) from her obsession with her ex (Wyatt Russell), who’s also the brother of the bride.

Meanwhile, the jokes keep thudding into land. Many of the punchlines are scatological, although Blitz lacks the nerve to gross us out directly – so it’s a matter of how amused you are at hearing about how someone took a dump on a table or used the wrong washcloth to wipe his balls.

Kendrick’s fast, nervy delivery still has its appeal, but she risks becoming a self-parody if she keeps settling for these flimsy roles.

On the other hand, Stephen Merchant looks as amusingly stranded in this context as he does in any other, burbling about being a “successful businessman” while beaming in apology for taking up so much space.

Some day somebody will get the hint and cast him as one of the classic Shakespearean fools: Sir Andrew Aguecheek???, perhaps.

The other cast members might as well have been pulled out of a hat, from Lisa Kudrow??? to Tony Revolori???, who was Ralph Fiennes’ sidekick in The Grand Budapest Hotel.

All are talented, but none are able to stop Table 19 from feeling like a long evening where the company isn’t enough to dispel the tedium.

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