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CONFETTI (article first published : 2006-09-11)

There's this British bridal magazine called Confetti, see, and its editor devises an attention-grabbing competition to find a couple prepared to plan the most outrageous and, well, yes, tacky wedding. The prize? A home worth half-a-million-pounds.

That's the premise of Confetti, a zany new British comedy which, featuring a number of familiar faces from UK television comedy series, takes a good-natured swipe at reality television and the genre's to-what-lengths-next? approach to absurdity, by presenting its fun, silly tale as a sort of mock-documentary.

Director-writer Debbie Issit, who is behind the BBC comedy success, Nasty Neighbours, has gathered about her a great cast that includes Martin Freeman (of The Office) and Jessica Sevenson, as perhaps the most normal of the three couples finally chosen for the wedding competition.

They play Matt and Sam, an engaged couple, lovers of movie musicals, who intend tying the knot in the setting of a 40s musical spectacle, pretending to be Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

The other contestants include a constantly bickering couple of tennis pros - the dominating and troubled Josef (Stephen Mangan) and put-upon Isabelle (Meredith MacNeill), whose friendship with her coach wears heavily on Josef's nerves. They're game for a love match in the setting of a tennis court, compete with a dance routine by ball boys.

Then there's Michael and Joanna (Robert Webb and Olivia Colman), a laidback twosome, naturalists both, who want to let it all hang out, quite literally, when they marry in their birthday suits.

The plot revolves around the hurdles each couple has to face in the weeks building up to their big day - all the while helped and hindered by family, friends and a camp, amusing couple of wedding planners (Jason Watkins and Vincent Franklin) who have the unenviable task of planning all three weddings on the same day, at the same venue and with a tight budget.

Issit has gone the route of fellow British director Mike Leigh and had her cast improvise a lot during the shoot, making for some interesting situations.

It's rather thin on plot and never as hilarious as one might expect it to be, but Confetti has enough going for it to make it an enjoyable romp. There are, however, some odd moments - such as, how come Sam, tone-deaf and clumsy throughout, suddenly sings like an angel and dances like a dream on her big day? Billy Suter




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