The main reason for seeing Confetti, for me, was not just the fact that it was a British film and a comedy, but for the people in it. Have you got your scorecard ready?
- Jessica Stephenson (Spaced)
- Martin Freeman (The Office, The Robinsons)
- Robert Webb (Peep Show)
- Olivia Coleman (Peep Show, Green Wing)
- Stephen Mangan (Green Wing, episode of I’m Alan Partridge – “Dan! Dan! Dan! Dan!”)
- Meredith MacNeill (Man Stroke Woman, episode of Peep Show)
- Felicia Montague (I’m Alan Partridge, Nighty Night)
- Mark Heap (Spaced, Green Wing)
- Julia Davis (Nighty Night, episode of I’m Alan Partridge)
Do you see? I like British comedy (the good stuff, obviously). I like the people who make the good stuff, and a lot of them are in the same film. Also, they were improvising in their scenes. Ergo, this should be fun. I was wrong.
The film sees a bridal magazine (run by Montague, owned by Jimmy Carr’s character) select three couples for their original weddings – musical (Stephenson & Freeman), tennis-themed (Mangan & MacNeill) and naturalist (Webb & Coleman) – and help them prepare it in three months with the aid of wedding organisers, who happen to be a gay couple. This is all filmed in a documentary style, with the actors improvising the majority of their dialogue. However, the film tries to place the improv into a structure where it has its cake and eats it, by mocking the fuss of weddings and then having the emotionally dramatic weddings at the end.
It doesn’t help that the central target of the comedy is not sufficiently large or inherently funny. Are they ridiculing weddings, magazines about weddings, the industry as a whole, the people who want big weddings or what? This leads to a lack of focus for the comedy; compare this with the quality of the Christopher Guest-directed Best in Show or The Mighty Wind and it’s embarrassing. The latter know what they are doing, whereas Confetti flounders.
The small character moments between some of the characters are good, such as between the Stephenson and Freeman characters, but these are few and far between. The film lacks the exactness of The Office or the controlled improv of Mike Leigh, falling somewhere in middle with neither of the benefits.
The most excruciating factor was the audience finding the campest wedding organiser the funniest thing in the movie, and bear in mind I watched this in the Clapham Picturehouse; I felt like I was watching Are You Being Served? with my parents laughing hysterically at the mincing antics of John Inman. It was so embarrassing. I can only assume that the audience mostly contained fag hags, because it was not funny, just lame. Bizarrely, the straighter of the two was one of the strongest characters and better performances.
The whole things crashes into obviousness at the end, with the most transparent wedding winning, even though I thought the tennis theme was more interesting. I wanted this to be funny, but I came away feeling quite disappointed. The director/writer (or whatever title is perhaps more appropriate) Debbie Isitt might have had a good original idea, but failed in the execution.