The editors of Confetti magazine have had a bright idea to make the waning institution of marriage more fashionable - and generating publicity for their business, of course. Therefore this summer a competition will be staged where three couples compete to have the most original wedding, with the prize being the much-needed house that each of them covet. First up is Josef (Stephen Mangan) and Isabelle (Meredith MacNeill), who plan a tennis-themed event to match Josef's profession, then Michael (Robert Webb) and Joanna (Olivia Colman) two naturists who want a nude wedding, and finally Matt (Martin Freeman) and Sam (Jessica Hynes) who are big fans of musicals...
This is Spinal Tap has a lot to answer for, as Confetti illustrates. As a one-off, that prime example of how improvisation can take the audience to fresh heights of inspired lunacy and keenly deployed laughter was a gem; the trouble was, after a while it seemed as if everyone in the business of making comedy on film and television wanted in on the act. The result was an avalanche of so-called mockumentaries, some of which were more scripted than others, and few of which were quite as funny as the rockumentary original.
Alas, joining the underachievers was this British offering that took a selection of talented performers and left them stranded in a far too loosely conceived succession of sketches that left you looking at your watch wondering if there was a joke scheduled to come along any time soon. Some point to Will Ferrell as the master of the improvised gag, but really his comedies are as baggy as this was, it's just that Ferrell had the budget behind him to back up his flights of fancy. Not so the case here, and rumour had it that Webb and Colman were left particularly unhappy with the final result, and no wonder as they stand about in the altogether for scene after scene.
As anyone who has seen their share of British sex comedies of the nineteen-seventies will tell you, nudity on its own is not inherently funny, but at least those films rarely left you feeling as embarrassed for the actors as Confetti does. Overall, the problem with the film can be summed up by this thread, as the plotlines start out from one high concept and find they have nowhere to go except the inevitable wedding at the end, so everything in the middle feels like treading water. Also not helping is that you can tell who will win from the opening ten minutes, as the other couples are too mean or too weird respectively.
It's a pity, because as one tiresome set-up follows another you'll be wishing director Debbie Isitt had hired a screenwriter or two to give her likeable cast something more substantial to play with. Another aspect of the culture that too many comedies sent up around this time was reality television, so this production is in the thrall of those documentary series that follow members of the public as they go on some emotional journey or other, yet comes up short in comparison as you never accept that what you're watching is authentic. In fact, it comes far too close to an actor's workshop, and you can envisage the rehearsals for this being pretty much exactly what ended up in the finished product. A rather desperate singalong finale does little to lighten the mood, so your best bet is to go with a comedy that someone has actually planned out properly instead of this ramble, genial and goodhearted as it is. Music by Billy Alessi and Paul Englshby.