Confetti is a high concept comedy that might have worked better without the high concept. The premise is that Confetti magazine, one of those bridal mags every unmarried man dreads finding under his girlfriend's pillow, has organised a competition to stage the year's most original wedding. Editor Antoni (Jimmy Carr) has found three couples whose marriage will each have a unique theme and he's assigned a pair of extremely gay wedding planners - Archie (Vincent Franklin) and Gregory (Jason Watkins) - to turn those ideas into reality.
Naturists Michael (Robert Webb) and Joanna (Olivia Colman) want to tie the knot in the nude, tennis players Josef (Stephen Mangan) and Isabelle (Meredith MacNeill) want their ceremony to take place on a court while Matt (Martin Freeman) and Sam (Jessica Stevenson), who like old Hollywood musicals, want theirs to look like it was choreographed by Busby Berkeley.
Their stories are filmed by an imaginary TV camera crew in "mockumentary" style, inviting comparisons to the godfather of the genre, Christopher Guest, who created This Is Spinal Tap and more recently directed Best In Show and A Mighty Wind. Debbie Isitt, the writer and director of Confetti is no Christopher Guest but she does a decent enough job behind the camera. She knows how to mine comedy from believable situations, how to stage a gag and how to get the best from her cast.
It's as a writer that she comes up short. The wedding competition premise doesn't produce the laughs it should. You would think this was an ideal concept for satirising the way people debase themselves for fame and prizes (the winning couple get a dream house) but Isitt fails to exploit it. Another easy target she misses is the wedding magazine. The film doesn't give the impression that it knows much about these publications. In one scene, the publisher's lawyer is brought in to tell the naturist couple that the magazine cannot contain nudity. Really? That will come as news to a lot of editors.
The film's most glaring flaw is that there's nothing particularly funny about any of the themed weddings. The musical wedding might have been amusing with spoof numbers like Springtime For Hitler but they're played straight. The tennis wedding is simply bizarre. The nude couple may get a smile initially but after it's faded, you're left staring at someone's cock for the rest of the film. Ironically, the ideas the magazine's editor rejects in the opening scene, like a Roman wedding complete with animal sacrifices, might potentially have been funnier.
What does work is the observational humour aimed at weddings in general. There are well-drawn supporting characters who will be familiar to anyone who's been involved with a wedding: the best man who despises the bride for stealing his friend (Marc Wootton); the whinging mother-in-law from hell (a spot-on Alison Steadman); the attention-hogging sister of the bride (Sarah Hadland). Poignant notes are struck when Sam frets about inviting her estranged dad against her mother's wishes and when we see behind the obnoxious tennis couple's facade. The wedding planners, a straight-acting homosexual and his ultra-camp boyfriend, are extremely endearing, even if their characters seem borrowed from Best In Show.
There's enough good material around the edges of Confetti to make you wish Debbie Isitt had ditched the themed wedding competition and just made a mockumentary about a pair of gay wedding planners and the three couples who've hired them. What Isitt has made is watchable and funny at times but there was a great comedy to be made out of this subject matter and Confetti is not it.