Fox // 2006 // 100 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Adam Arseneau (Retired) // March 23rd, 2007
Three weddings. One happy couple.
It might have been André Bazin (but probably not) who wrote about the one timeless truth in cinema: that male genetalia is funny. Be you straight, gay, liberal, or homosexual, it matters not, because a dude's twig and berries? Instant comedy, man.
Written and conceived by Debbie Isitt (Nasty Neighbours), Confetti is as light and colorful as the party decoration that bears its name, but also about as substantial. A satirical British mockumentary about wedding planning, there are chuckles aplenty but little of substance to tickle the funny bone. But, boy oh boy, there's a lot of wang.
Confetti Magazine, the hottest wedding magazine in Britain is holding a contest for "Most Original Wedding of the Year." Winners will get a new house and have their wedding photos on the cover for the whole world to see! Of course, it takes some time to weed out all the freaks, but the magazine feels confident the contest will be a smashing success. Sure, there are some catches -- legal technicalities, really...but more on this later.
Three couples are chosen as finalists: the first, Matt (Martin Freeman, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, The Office) and Sam (Jessica Stevenson, The Office), envisions a wedding out of a 1940s Hollywood musical, with lavish set designs and tap dancing. Problem is, the bride can't carry a tune to save her life.
The second couple, Josef (Stephen Mangan, Billy Elliot) and Isabelle (Meredith MacNeill), chooses a tennis-themed wedding. For this uber-competitive and athletic couple, winning isn't about being the best as much as it is about making everyone else the worst in the eyes of the judges. Their victory would be assured, were it not for the bride's horribly distracting, gigantic nostrils and the tennis coach's flirtatious nature, which sends the groom into raging fits.
The final couple, Michael (Robert Webb, Blessed) and Joanna (Olivia Colman, Hot Fuzz), is a pair of naturists. That's right, the butt-naked kind. They see themselves getting married in the buff, something Confetti magazine is horrified to realize after admitting them into the contest as finalists. Here, the legal technicalities we mentioned earlier enter the picture.
With all of this chaos unknown to the two wedding designers, Gregory (Jason Watkins, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason) and Archie (Vincent Franklin, The Illusionist, The Bourne Identity), the chance to work for Confetti Magazine seemed like the opportunity of a lifetime -- huge exposure, infinite budgets, perks, etc. The reality, of course, is far more sobering: six angry, screaming newlyweds-to-be, a tight hand on the purse strings, and only a few weeks to plan!
Confetti is funny in a distant and abstract sort of way, but never really achieves that "laugh out loud" funny that people like to see in romantic comedies. In canine terms, Confetti is like a tiny and adorned little Shih Tzu -- cute and adorable, sure, but so ineffectual and benign as to barely qualify as a dog. More like a fluffy, well-mannered rat or something.
With a largely improvised script, most of the dialogue and jokes in Confetti were ad-libbed by cast on the spot; unfortunately, it often feels like it. A little random creativity here and there makes a movie great, but too much aimlessness often does more harm than good. All we really have are one or two notes played over and over: the effeminate wedding planners dance, prance, and sing out their elaborately crafted ideas for the weddings, while the questionably happy couples stare on in bemusement and slack-jawed disbelief. It's more cute than funny, kind of like how Ziggy comics are funny...ish.
In a word, Confetti is too polite for its own good. Beyond the racy amounts of nudity (all done for laughs, of course), there is little genuine controversy or bite to this comedy. Three weddings get planned, and three weddings experience some minor amounts of inconvenience and hilarity, but all within the realm of good British taste. It's not like I expected or wanted explosions or gunfire or anything of that sort...only, you know, funny jokes.
Though a bride-and-groom comedy, the true stars of the film are Gregory and Archie, the painfully effeminate wedding planners struggling through the tantrums and demands of their clients. Sure, the gay jokes get old after a whole, but they are so passionate and hilarious on their crusade to set up perfect weddings that one cannot laugh. The rest of the cast fare well enough, though nobody in particular knocks it out of the park. I wanted to like Martin Freeman's character, but he kind of sleepwalked through this one.
I suppose Confetti is an enjoyable enough film, if a tad benign. The gay jokes, the naked jokes, and the British jokes all play well enough to get the audience through the film until the end, when the sweetness ratchets itself up to near-unbearable levels and rescues the film from the doldrums of mediocrity. This high-sucrose saturation serves a greater good. As a straight comedy, the film is fairly average, but as a romantic comedy, the sweetness and adorableness are tearjerkingly pleasing. The climax of the film is well-executed and satisfying, ending the film on a high note, which is saying something.
I liked Confetti's charm, its sly wit, and its sheer abundance of naked people for the sake of comedy, but I wish it had more of an impact. There is little to distinguish Confetti from a slew of other Christopher Guest-esque mockumentaries, and other romantic comedies do the "wedding from Hell" thing ten times better. Ultimately, it is a sweet, but entirely forgettable, comedy.
The transfer is surprisingly lousy, all things considering. Shot on DV, the color tone is muted with noticeable compression artifacts and edge distortion present. Any quick movement degrades the image into a mess of distortion and digital pixels. Black levels are adequate, but can be grainy at times. Sound fares better, with three 5.1 tracks -- English, Spanish, and French -- featuring clear dialogue, good bass response, and a great soundtrack of wedding standards, crooners, and classics throughout.
Extras are moderate, but kind of cute. "Confetti Keeps Falling -- More Tears and Tantrums" is an hour or so of deleted scenes from the film, which are nice to have but of mediocre quality; you can see easily why they were excluded. Three alternate endings are also included, incorporated into a particularly cute extra feature called "Choose Your Own Winners," allowing the viewer to select the winner of the wedding contest to their liking. In doing so, alternate endings are inserted into the film at the appropriate part. Get it? Silly, sure, but in a good sort of way. The endings are also viewable independent of the entire film, which is sensible. Toss in some trailers, and you have over an hour of material -- nothing groundbreaking, but not too bad either.
When the funniest elements of any given comedy are tantamount to the fiendish amounts of wang displayed, one of two things has happened. Either the film tried to be a gross-out teen comedy and got its gender roles mixed up, or it tried to go the subtle British comedy route. For Confetti, it is obviously the latter, but now, but a horrible thing has happened: the naked has somehow become the funniest part of the film.
This is a stumbling block, if you ask me. Take out the nude jokes and Confetti becomes shockingly boring. Leave the nude jokes in and now Confetti becomes a film only funny because of its sheer naturalist elements. Tough decision.
A comedy light on laughs, but genuine in intention and full of sweetness and subtle charm, Confetti may find favor with Christopher Guest mockumentary fans, but its elusive and sly humor is far too mild (and diluted by naked jokes) to make an impact with most audiences. Viewers may shrug their way though most of the jokes, but will no doubt find the film to be sweet enough to enjoy.
Not guilty, but I wouldn't count on this wedding lasting too long.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* "Confetti Keeps Falling--More Tears and Tantrums"
* Alternate Endings
* Theatrical Trailers