ANDREW CLARKE Shot as a mock documentary, the film follows the fortunes of three couples who are selected by Confetti magazine as the finalists in their Most Unusual Wedding Competition. w
You know when a generation of comedians, actors and writers reach a certain age because suddenly instead of anarchic pot-shots at society they are busily crafting a comedy of manners relating to the whole of getting married, settling down and raising a family.
Ten years ago Richard Curtis was in that position and created that huge hit Four Weddings and a Funeral - now Martin Freeman from The Office and the casts of such late-night TV comedies as Green Wing, Spaced, Peep Show, I'm Alan Patridge and The Royle Family have teamed up with writer/director Debbie Isitt to produce Confetti.
Confetti presses many of the same feelgood buttons as Four Weddings but, thankfully, dispenses with the Andi MacDowell-style transatlantic ending.
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Although Debbie Isitt gave the film an overall shape, much of the dialogue was improvised by the actors on set.
Shot as a mock documentary, very much in the Spinal Tap/Best in Show/Christopher Guest style, the improvised dialogue gives the film a very naturalistic feel.
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The film follows the fortunes of three couples who are selected by Confetti magazine as the finalists in their Most Unusual Wedding Competition. The magazine's publisher is played in an acerbic way by stand-up Jimmy Carr who selects three couples to go head-to-head in a wedding competition with a difference.
Martin Freeman and Jessica Stevenson play a charming down-to-earth couple who want an MGM musical ceremony, while Stephen Mangan and Meredith McNeill play an ultra- competitive tennis pair who not only want a tennis-themed wedding, but they also desperately want to win the competition to make up fore their lack of success on the court.
Finally there is Robert Webb and Olivia Colman who play a couple of naturists who want a nude wedding - which causes alarm to magazine editor Felicity Montagu.
But the pair who go furthest in stealing the film are Vincent Franklin and Jason Watkins who play a couple of Gilbert and George lookalikes who are so besotted with the whole idea of weddings and romance that they not only plan weddings, they virtually live them.
Alison Steadman is as reliable as ever as Jessica Stevenson's shrewish East End mother who almost reduces the wedding planners to tears as she throws them out of her house.
The film plays out in a documentary style with lots of fly-on-the-wall camera angles and talking directly to the audience. There are plenty of laughs to be had, but these are given an added punch thanks to some sharp satirical digs about the whole notions of weddings and the conventions that surround them.
Who are the weddings for? The couple or the family? Confetti might not have the answers but it does offer plenty of laugh-out-loud observations.