The comedic, mockumentary style of movie-making has resulted in some great entertainment in the last several years. Christopher Guest and company have almost elevated it to an art form with their half-scripted, half-improvised comedies like This Is Spinal Tap, Waiting For Guffman and A Mighty Wind. Britain is offering up their latest take on the genre but despite a seemingly talented cast the movie fails to hold up against its yank competition.
Confetti begins with a promising premise. The fictionalized glam wedding magazine “Confetti”, needing a strong gimmick for an upcoming issue, has decided to hold a competition. They solicit the pre-matrimonial public to submit ideas for original wedding concepts. Three couples will be chosen and given the chance to have their one-of-a-kind ceremony pulled together on Confetti’s dime. A panel of judges will decide which is the most unique with the winning couple receiving a £1,000,000 house in which to begin their new life of marital bliss.
A bizarre parade of concepts go in one door and out the other, leaving the Confetti staff a meager list of choices to consider. In the end they go with the extremely competitive “Tennis Wedding” couple, the tone deaf “Movie Musical Ceremony” couple, and the “Naturist Wedding” couple (naturists being a group whose lifestyle preference involves unabashed nudity). Pile on the most stereotypical gay partners / wedding planners you could imagine and you’ve got a set up Christopher Guest would be proud of. Well, he would if it were executed well.
The British style of dry, witty humor is a fine match to this kind of movie, but director/conceiver Debbie Isitt (it’s hard to call her a writer when the cast probably made up most of the “script” on the spot) relies too heavily on repetitive stock comedy situations. Like rehearsal dinner champagne that has lost its fizz, there’s nothing in the storyline to keep the humor fresh, and as a result a lot of the laughs fall flat.
A good example is the naturist couple storyline. The image of naked people riding a tandem bicycle is a sort of funny visual gag, but the bit gets old pretty quick. Naked people playing badminton; naked people having a barbecue; upset people getting naked out of protest in the middle of a meeting; Isitt pounds her audience with nudity humor like a kid playing Whack-A-Mole in the arcade. Fun for her maybe. A headache for us. In case you couldn’t tell, there’s a lot of nakedness in this movie. Gratuitous? Definitely. Scandalous? Hardly. It’s all in the context of the naturist lifestyle and clearly nobody went to the gym to prepare for their role.
It’s hard to know how much blame to put on the performers for the movie’s lackluster laughs. Jimmy Carr and Martin Freeman in particular know their way around a semi-improvised scene, but even polished comedic styles like theirs seem hindered by Isitt’s monochromatic set ups. On the other hand, maybe if they and their co-stars had pushed the absurdity envelope a little further it might have carried the story to new and better heights. Confetti is good for a few solid laughs, especially if you can appreciate the dry Brit humor, but the rest of the time is spent watching the actors chase their comedic tails; a boring endeavor indeed.