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Jesse Reviews the Films of Anna Kendrick

Jesse

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

Seriously, though, if you don’t believe my Table 19 review, I am invested in Anna Kendrick’s career. Journey back in time with me, won’t you?

“Kendrick and Plaza are particularly charming in their freedom to act like dummies and subvert the usual ‘nice girl’ of a wedding-centric romantic comedy.”
Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates

“But Kendrick still throws the movie off, mostly by giving it her best: She’s so likable, and plays the stock concerned-girlfriend part with so much sweetness and honesty, that the quirky family dramedy material plays even more false in her presence.”
The Hollars

“…a nice fit for a screenplay written by 30 Rock’s Kay Cannon, especially in a runner about her inability to formulate any nasty rejoinders to the beautiful, taunting leader of the Germans.”
Pitch Perfect 2

“When Christian and Dana engage in some cute math-flirting, it’s charming enough to pass for funny on purpose, especially when director Gavin O’Connor places a particularly hulking-looking Affleck next to the diminutive, chirpy Kendrick.”
The Accountant

“The success of future Marshall musicals is assured, as long as he keeps working from Sondheim and re-hires Streep, Blunt, Kendrick, and Pine.”
Into the Woods

“Kendrick sings her heart out and also proves a great reactor, managing to steal a couple of scenes from Jordan even when he’s the one singing.”
The Last Five Years

“The effect could be maddening, a feature-length avoidance of the elephant in the room. But Wilde, Johnson, and Kendrick make that avoidance appealing.”
Drinking Buddies

“Anna Kendrick, delightful as always, [plays] Taylor’s sweet girlfriend Janet.”
End of Watch

Anna Kendrick gets jilted by Table 19

Jesse

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

Is Anna Kendrick America’s Sweetheart? Sub-question: If she isn’t, does America deserve a sweetheart at all? We may not have one; Hollywood studios have written off romantic comedies, traditionally a chief incubator of big-screen sweethearts, as, I guess, not profitable enough, despite their relatively low budgets and relatively high rate of financial success (how did producers not look at The Ugly Truth’s box office and think, OK, literally any of these could make money?). But Kendrick has the chops – the instant likability, the comic prowess, the willingness to look ridiculous and sound either sincere or snarky about it, depending on the scene – despite never having actually starred in a rom-com.

She’s come close: Last summer’s Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is more of a Step Brothers knockoff than a vehicle for the Julia Robertses of today, but she is the romantic lead in it, as well as enormously winning and funny. The Last Five Years is all about a relationship, but it’s not especially comedic and, actually, not very romantic, either. Drinking Buddies is a pretty great rom-com, but Kendrick is in second position for most of it (Jake Johnson and Olivia Wilde are at the center). Kendrick is good in all of these movies, and they’re all more enjoyable than, say, The Proposal, so maybe it’s not a problem that she’s come into her own as a star at a time when this particular genre is on the wane. Kendrick has kept to her indie roots even following the enormous success of the Pitch Perfect series, remaining open to tiny budgets and/or costarring with Sam Rockwell. But this can make watching her in an indie rom-com substitute like this week’s Table 19 a frustrating experience. If you’re going to make a bad movie set at a wedding – and Table 19 is both of those things – why not at least go with enjoyably hokey, rather than self-consciously quirky?

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