Like the Christopher Guest films that provided its cinematic DNA, Debbie Isitt‘s improvised comedy "Confetti" is funnier in concept than in practice. Fortunately, the concept is elaborate enough to fill half the run-time with set-up: Three couples compete for best novelty theme wedding in a contest hosted by a bridal magazine, because, as the magazine’s smarmy editor informs us "Not everyone wants their special day ruined by a gimmick…but some people do."
Did you laugh? Is the idea of a sports-themed wedding overwhelmingly hilarious? How about a nudist wedding? The comedy doesn’t get much sharper than that. The three couples are played by six comedians of varying degrees of talent and likability â€” the final, most endearing couple are musical fans Sam and Matt, probably the only pair recognizable to most US audiences, as they’re played by Jessica Stevenson (of "Spaced" and "Shaun of the Dead") and Martin Freeman (of "The Office"). Sam and Matt are the only two who emerge as human beings rather than a mass of tics and acting class prompts, and in their scenes together manage a sweet naturalness that’s a welcome relief from everyone else’s tendency toward the madcap.
"The Office" set the bar for the mockumentary impossibly high â€” in its exquisite awkwardness, its dead air, its torturously quiet, constant humiliation, it often went far beyond what could possibly considered funny, into something despairingly and fondly human. It’s possible (and here’s hoping) the show has put the genre to rest, at least in the area of comedy; "Confetti" may not aim to be "The Office," but with the Freeman’s presence it’s impossible not to group them, and "Confetti," while not terrible, is terribly unremarkable.
Even Guest, perhaps sensing the time has come, has abandoned the mockumentary pretense in his new film, "For Your Consideration." Bring on the straightforward comedy!
Opens in limited release.
+ "Confetti" (Fox Searchlight)