Confetti Magazine, a slick bridal rag, is hosting a Most Original Wedding of the Year contest, and three couples are selected as the lucky contestants to have their nuptials steamrolled into a gimmicky extravaganza, all in the name of a free wedding and a new home.
Hyper-competitive tennis junkies Josef and Isabelle (Stephen Mangan and Meredith MacNeill) want to put on a tennis-themed wedding, and are more concerned with other couples are getting preferential treatment than they are with, say, Isabelle's handsy Spanish tennis coach.
Matt and Sam (Martin Freeman and Jessica Stevenson) are a sweet couple throwing a Hollywood musical wedding, complete with fan kicks and top hats straight out of Busby Berkeley. They are easily the most normal, and aw-shucks romantic, because their problems stem from Sam's opinionated shrew of a mother and sister and Matt's Sam-hating best man.
And naturists Michael and Joanna (Robert Webb and Olivia Colman) want a back-to-Mother Earth ceremony, which sounds lovely, but they want to do it in the buff (as the actors gamely spend most of the film), which is... not. This plan is very not OK with Confetti's dragon lady editor Vivien (Felicity Montagu), who balks at having so much flawed skin flying free on the cover of her magazine.
Essentially Confetti is all about the payoff at the end - this is no Best in Show, with the journey every bit as funny as the final showdown. There are bits of comedy throughout, especially as the sassy wedding planners (Jason Watkins, Vincent Franklin) attempt to rein in the overwrought couples (while keeping gazes carefully averted from Michael's naughty bits), the countdown eventually feels a bit tedious. But then there's the big day, with three weddings that are perfectly ridiculous spectacles of excess and hilarity. There are many, many points in this frenzy of matrimony that are so preposterous you just have to laugh.
Confetti is certainly likable, taking all of those schmaltzy British romantic comedies (pick any of Love Actually's stories for a prime example) and re-tells them with a healthy dose of wackiness and irony. But the rather elaborate conceits frequently overshadow the more subtle - and often better - aspects to the comedy. There is so darn much setup that it leaves no room for impulses to run free, so Confetti lacks the outlandish giddiness that comes from great improvisational comedy, but it's also missing the benefits of scripted film - like character development or storylines that are brought to a satisfying conclusion.
Perhaps the structure is necessary, as all the actors - many of whom are cult-famous in Britain for their sitcom work; Freeman is likely the most well-known here, for his role on the BBC original of The Office - are not skilled enough without a script to bear the weight of a feature film. They are all good sports, particularly the proud nudists and MacNeill, with her "tremendous nostrils," but that does not necessarily mean they are able to both improv a good story and punctuated it with great comedy.
Of course, creating the momentum should fall to Debbie Isitt, who directed and "conceived" the film, but she clearly passed the job to her actors, who are up to the task a solid 70 percent of the time. While that ratio might not completely make the movie worthwhile, it had me leaving the theatre in brighter spirits than I came in, and sometimes, that's enough.
You gotta rip it up to be confetti, ladies.
In Theaters: Friday 5th May 2006
Box Office USA: $0.1M
Distributed by: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 57%
Fresh: 43 Rotten: 33
IMDB: 5.8 / 10
Director: Debbie Isitt
Producer: Ian Benson, Ian Flooks
Screenwriter: Debbie Isitt
Starring: Martin Freeman as Matt, Jessica Hynes as Sam, Olivia Colman as Joanna, Stephen Mangan as Josef, Vincent Franklin as Archie, Robert Webb as Michael, Meredith MacNeill as Isabelle, Felicity Montagu as Vivian, Jimmy Carr as Antony, Marc Wootton as Snoopy, Jason Watkins as Gregory, Alison Steadman as Sam's Mum, Sarah Hadland as Jon, Julia Davis as Counselor, Ron Cook as Sam's Dad, Selina Cadell as Joanna's Mum, Phil Nichol as Judge, Caroline Reid as Judge, Nickolas Grace as Judge, Mark Heap as Registrar, David Mitchell as Photographer
Also starring: Ian Benson
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