Taking the Christopher Guest mockumentary baton and running out of breath quickly, “Confetti” certainly has the desire to please. This is a bright, fast-paced comedy that takes on a great subject to satirize. The thing is, it just isn’t very funny. Pleasant, sure. But no big laughs.To help boost sales, the editors at the popular bridal magazine Confetti have decided to run a “Most Original Wedding of the Year” contest. The contestants are a naturist couple who fight to stay unclothed on their big day (a very naked Robert Webb and Olivia Coleman); a power couple with a hunger for victory (Stephen Mangan and Meredith MacNeill); and a docile couple (Martin Freeman and Jessica Stevenson) with a hankering for old Hollywood style to glam up their nuptials. With only weeks to plan the ceremonies, the couples are quickly caught up in the hurricane of preparation and competition.
While its roots of improvisation reach back into comedic history, the template for “Confetti” is clearly the work of Christopher Guest and his stable of actors (“Best in Show,” “Waiting for Guffman”). It’s hard to initially get excited over another, British stab at a mockumentary, but “Confetti” finds a relevant niche to work on: the overfed wedding industry.
Director Debbie Isitt has set her cast loose on the jagged playing field of a wedding contest, and through her use of entirely improvised dialog, “Confetti” never tires as it observes the war between the couples. As the twosomes brawl madly for victory with each other and their needling families, they start to fear the competition as it ticks closer to reality, leading the participants to scramble madly for the upper hand.
Isitt smartly casts a wide net with her characters, giving the filmmaker multiple options when it comes time to pick a story or joke to follow. This is a truly talented Brit cast at play here, and each of them shines with a concrete conception of their character and razor-sharp improv skills. Best are Jason Watkins and Vincent Franklin as the gay wedding planners routinely caught in the middle of the madness. These actors are incredible comedians and represent the most lovable personalities in the story. I think Isitt fell for them too; the characters are thankfully given more and more screentime as the films plows toward a conclusion.The premise permits “Confetti” to get seriously wacky at times, and the farcical spirit of the whole endeavor is effortless to chew on. Yet, that doesn’t necessarily make the film funny. While I sat there with a smile for a good portion of the film, I rarely laughed out loud (outside of the scenes with Watkins and Franklin), which keeps the absurdist slant of the whole endeavor grounded. “Confetti” aims to please, and it’s successful, but mostly in a far less uproarious ways than it was obviously intending.