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|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E||
dir-scr Debbie Isitt|
with Martin Freeman, Jessica Stevenson, Robert Webb, Olivia Colman, Stephen Mangan, Meredith MacNeill, Jimmy Carr, Felicity Montagu, Vincent Franklin, Jason Watkins, Alison Steadman, Ron Cook, Marc Wootton, Sarah Hadland, Selina Cadell, Jesus de Miguel
release UK 5.May.06, US 22.Sep.06
UK BBC-Fox 1h35
Here comes the bride: Stevenson (above); MacNeill with Franklin and Watkins (below)
The premise may look like Four Weddings and Love Actually, but this film is really a Christopher Guest-style improvised mock-doc. And a hilariously enjoyable one.
Confetti magazine is having a contest, and its editors (Carr and Montagu) are nervous. The three finalists will hold theme weddings with the chance to win a huge house ("artist's impression"). Matt and Sam (Freeman and Stevenson) are staging a lavish Broadway musical wedding; Michael and Joanna (Webb and Colman) are naturists who want to get married as God created them; and with their elaborate tennis theme, Josef and Isabelle (Mangan and MacNeill) refuse to be outdone. The wedding planners (Franklin and Watkins) have their work cut out for them.
Everything is played out in a deadpan, comically earnest way--these people don't realise how ridiculous they are, and as a result they're both very funny and extremely likeable. It's clear from the beginning who's going to win the competition, and that's part of the joke, but Isitt develops the plot amusingly from scene to scene, giving each actor the chance to really shine.
Freeman and Stevenson are charm personified; it's impossible not to fall in love with them. As Sam's parents and know-it-all sister, Steadman, Cook and Hadland do their best to steal the film, as does Wootton as Matt's best mate. Webb and Colman are so plainly comfortable with no clothes on (would anyone in Guest's company dare?), and they are also the most openly romantic of the bunch. Mangan and MacNeill are hilariously competitive with each other and everyone else. And Franklin and Watkins are absolutely hysterical as the gay couple that lives off the romance around them.
Yes, there are plenty of stereotypes thrown around, but all of them are subverted by the sharp cast. Yes, it's rather anecdotal and fragmented, looking everywhere for bits of comedy and plot strands to tie it all together. But the smart writing and acting keep us on our toes, and bring in some genuine emotion that's sweet but never sappy. There's even a witty coda at the end to send us out of the cinema laughing. What's not to love?
|Jack McKell, Teesside: "If you like the style of The Office, you will love Confetti. It has an improvisation component, which must explain the natural and convincing acting styles. For me, this is the comedy of empathetic embarrassment - I can just about imagine myself (on an ill advised day!) behaving like the characters, and then suffering toe-curling flashbacks for the rest of my life. The acting is excellent, but particular favourites are Joanna and Michael as the naturist couple. It must be difficult to 'act clothed' while naked, but Michael (Robert Webb) and Joanna (Olivia Colman) manage a subtle range of characterisation (from Michael's slight prickliness to Joanna's mild self-consciousness) in a way which is always funny. A good 'night in with a takeaway' movie, delivering gentle humour rather than belly laughs, but very well worth watching." (16.Nov.06)|
© 2006 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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