Weddings are about the most overblown and overhyped ritual of contemporary society except perhaps for the birthday festivities of the young and rich as seen on MTV's My Super Sweet 16 and maybe the Super Bowl.
The whole wedding industry encourages couples to one-up each other, to make their nuptials bigger, more unique and more memorable than the rest: hence the basis of English director Debbie Isitt's mocking Confetti.
Apparently Bridezillas and their special brand of tulle-veiled havoc aren't limited to the States. Wipe away the accents and throw a lot of extra sugar in the cake, and the shenanigans of the couples-to-be in Confetti could easily pass for an American "reality" show.
Isitt channels Christopher Guest (star of This is Spinal Tap, director of Best in Show) with this improvised mockumentary. She sets the stage for a triple wedding, giving us three sets of fiances competing in a magazine contest to see who can throw the most unusual wedding. The contest has only drawn freaks as contenders, and the results are hilarious.
The first of the three couples, played by Martin Freeman (of the BBC's The Office) and Jessica Stevenson, have average looks and a slight charm. They want to put on an elaborate, 1930s, Busby Berkeley-style musical affair. The fact that the bride-to-be can't carry a tune and has "physical dyslexia" (i.e. can't dance) doesn't seem to faze them.
Next are Stephen Mangan and Meredith MacNeill as a pair of tennis freaks. His McEnroe-worthy rage and their shared overcompetitiveness mean things will get ugly quickly.
And finally, Robert Webb and Olivia Colman play naturists who insist on being totally naked while expressing their undying love for each other in front a roomful of near strangers which doesn't please the respectable magazine's top brass.
The cast represents the young face of British comedy, but they'll hardly be recognizable stateside, except perhaps to people who watch BBC America for more than just Monty Python reruns.
Under Isitt's guidance, the players capture Guest's flair for lunacy. They approach their productions, er, weddings, with earnestness, despite how laughable the schemes are. But Isitt is less successful at producing the tensions and uneasy moments of a Guest mockumentary. His characters are certifiably insane, but you still feel for them whether they win or lose. Isitt's misfits are just plain bonkers.
Still, she doesn't hold back and lets her cast go wild when it counts. We get every penis-wagging, saggy-breast-waving view at the badminton-playing nudist colony. One of the unambiguously gay wedding planners has to physically tackle the rage-filled tennis-playing groom to keep him in check. And the costuming and choreography for musical couple's big number, er, ceremony, is a hoot.
Confetti's nuptials are cheeky, campy and goofy, and, unlike your cousin's Renaissance-themed reception, you're free to laugh out loud.
Showing at the Birmingham 8 (211 S. Old Woodward Ave., Birmingham; 248-644-3456).
Clare Pfeiffer Ramsey writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].
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