Reviewed by: Sarah Artt

The premise is that three couples compete to win a house in a competition for Confetti Magazine's "most original wedding of the year." As Confetti's boss (Jimmy Carr) points out, "not everyone wants their special day ruined by a gimmick: but some people do."

The ones who make it through are Josef (Stephen Mangan) and Isabelle (Meredith MacNeill), who propose a tennis-themed wedding, Matt (Martin Freeman) and Sam (Jessica Stevenson), who want a Thirties Hollywood musical-themed marriage, and Michael (Robert Webb) and Joanna (Olivia Colman), who want a to tie the knot in a way that celebrates their naturist lifestyle.

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A cast that combines some of the finest talent from TV series Green Wing, Spaced, The Office, Peep Show and Man/Woman ought to have you snorting popcorn out your nose and it's at times like this that I begin to appreciate those frequently unsung heroes of screen comedy - the writers.

Most of the dialogue in Confetti is improvised and while there are a few very moving moments, where couples reconcile after the kind of petty disagreements that appear to be the lot of everyone attempting to plan a wedding, the moments of comedy aren't up to the combined hilarity that these performers ought to represent. However, for improvised dialogue, Confetti isn't bad, styling itself after the kind of mockumentary epitomized by the work of Christopher Guest (Waiting For Guffman, Best In Show, A Mighty Wind).

MacNeill and Magnan steal the show, as the ultra-competitive tennis nuts Josef and Isabelle, with Magnan essentially playing the total dickhead type he deploys as Guy in Green Wing and MacNeill acting a composite of the neurotic screwballs she specializes in for Man/Woman.

Wedding planners Archie (Vincent Franklin) and Gregory (Jason Watkins) provide a welcome antidote to the combative couples, with their enthusiasm for planning all three events in the same venue, which they dub "a three ring circus of love." Stevenson is a pleasant echo of her Spaced character Daisy in her transformation from dowdy duckling to bridal swan Sam. Freeman (lately of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, Shaun Of The Dead and The Office) is lovely as her fiance Matt, a sweet-tempered fellow who finally loses it in the face of Sam's overbearing mother and tacky showgirl sister.

The finale, with the presentation of all three weddings is alternately touching and hilarious, acting as a warning to anyone thinking of a themed wedding, or, God forbid, entering into anything resembling a televised version of the events leading up to your wedding.

It is unclear as to what sort of film writer/director Debbie Isitt has set out to make. There are moments in which we are clearly supposed to be cringing, such as the first time we see Sam and Matt sing their vows (always a bad idea, by the way, as I can attest as bridesmaid at my aunt's wedding where, aged 13, I was appalled to see my future uncle singing about "promising not just my strength alone"). At other times, it has the quality of a real documentary, such as when Sam is selected for a makeover at the National Wedding Show. As Sam is being made up on stage, the camera closes in on the faces of the other brides, Isabelle and Joanna. While Isabelle merely looks jealous that attention is being lavished on someone else, Joanna looks as if she wants to sink into the floor with humiliation, and suddenly the rigid and competitive performance of femininity that surrounds traditional weddings is laid horribly bare.

Like it's title, Confetti is a bit of a mixed bag, but worth it for those who are already fans of the cast.

Reviewed on: 05 May 2006
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Magazine wedding competition becomes improv mockumentary with tennis balls.
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Director: Debbie Isitt

Writer: Debbie Isitt

Starring: Jimmy Carr, Olivia Colman, Vincent Franklin, Martin Freeman, Meredith MacNeill, Stephen Mangan, Felicity Montagu, Jason Watkins, Jessica Stevenson, Robert Webb

Year: 2006

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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