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CONFETTI

SYNOPSIS:
Britain's leading bridal & wedding glossy, Confetti Magazine, selects three couples to battle it out in a contest for Most Original Wedding of the Year, with a 500,000 house as the big prize. Matt and Samantha ( Martin Freeman, Jessica Stevenson) want a Hollywood musical theme; Josef and Isabelle (Stephen Mangan, Meredith MacNeill) go for their passion, tennis; Michael and Joanna (Robert Webb, Olivia Colman) opt for their hobby, natural (ie nude). Confetti Editor Vivien (Felicity Montagu) and publisher Antoni (Jimmy Carr) engage wedding planners Heron & Hough (Vincent Franklin, Jason Watkins) to assist each couple, but the eight week journey from go to vow is fraught with stress, tension and interfering family members, even putting some of the weddings in jeopardy.

Review by Louise Keller:
The search for the most original wedding of the year results in Confetti, a lively mockumentary-style comedy that is as funny as it is spontaneous. Fresh and offbeat, Debbie Isitt's totally improvised film manages to keep it real enough to bring pathos, crazy enough to make it a hoot. It's the kind of film that Christopher Guest might have dabbled in. A solid British cast headed by Martin Freeman (The Office, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) injects plenty of energy and the outrageously gay wedding planners (Vincent Franklin and Jason Watkins) surprisingly give the film its warmth and heart.

'Your dreams are enough' are Heron and Hough Wedding Planners' promise to deliver the frills and panache for a wedding fantasy. We tag along in the lead up to the final judging, when the three selected couples take centre stage and execute their concepts in a production splashed with theatrical effects. Of course there is plenty of potential with an Esther Williams-type musical routine, a centre court extravaganza and two naturalists who insist on keeping their clothes off.

Sideline characters include a hysterical mother, divorced father with two left feet, an eager pre-marriage counsellor, a plastic surgeon with misplaced ideas and the bride's nightclub dancer sister who fancies herself as a choreographer. Then there's Snoopy the grungy small band rock singer whose ideas as best man are to sing inappropriate lyrics, and a flirtatious Spanish tennis coach called Jesus.

The humour relies on context rather than one-liners, and only once (on the tennis court) does the action push beyond the credible. I loved Heron and Hough's frolics in fairy costumes, as ball boys and naturalists. While their concepts may be over the top, we warm to them because their hearts and passions are transparent. Confetti sparkles where many comedies fail, in its ability to deliver the ridiculous beside the norm. After all, isn't that what life is all about?

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Debbie Isitt's idea of making a movie out of wedding preparations - and making it as realistic as possible - is the ultimate drama/reality hybrid. She chose the cast, but they were given pretty free reign to develop the characters and the situations, which was all filmed in semi doco fashion: 150 hours of footage was shot (on HD, not 35 mm!).

The territory is ripe for pathos, humour, even tragedy; people at vulnerable moments in their lives, facing a momentous ceremony, amidst a complex set of relationships in and out of the family. Under Isitt's careful, arm's-length guidance, the cast work through the dramas and the humour, although the surface comedy tends to cover up some of the deeper possibilities, when surrounding characters clash and create conflict.

All the same, the film bravely confronts the many challenges inherent in such an undertaking, not the least what to do about the couple who want to be wed in the nude. Having chosen them, Confetti's publisher Antoni (Jimmy Carr) has to go along with it, against his editor's (Felicity Montagu) better judgement. The compromise they must find is one of the elements that helps create tension in the film. Indeed, it is the conflicts that arise from the choices made by the couples that drive the dramatic engine.

The naturalistic performances are given room to breathe on camera, and the often predictable songs used as source music (eg What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life, or Love Is In The Air) work surprisingly well. Also to the film's advantage is its very English nature; in a different culture the result may not be as entertaining. In all, it's an enjoyable and funny escape, with moments of painful reality.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

CONFETTI (PG)
(UK, 2006)

CAST: Martin Freeman, Jessica Stevenson, Stephen Mangan, Meredith MacNeill, Robert Webb, Olivia Colman, Vincent Franklin, Felicity Montagu, Jimmy Carr, Alison Steadman

PRODUCER: Ian Benson, Ian Flooks

DIRECTOR: Debbie Isitt

SCRIPT: Debbie Isitt

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Dewald Aukema

EDITOR: Nicky Ager

MUSIC: Paul Englishby

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Chris Roope

RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Searchlight

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 3, 2006







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