Much of the mentality behind Debbie Isitt's hilarious wedding-competition mockumentary Confetti amounts to "Too much is never enough." It isn't enough to have three needy couples planning wacky theme weddings in the hopes of winning a luxury home via Confetti magazine's "most original wedding of the year" contest. No, the story needs all the usual hazards of real weddings: interfering families, pushy friends with hurt feelings, last-minute marriage jitters, external and internal relationship stresses, and a ton of organizational glitches. Add in a pair of adorable gay wedding planners, plus some second-guessing and double-dealing among the magazine's staff, and it all becomes utter chaos.
But it's inspired, glorious chaos. Working through character-building workshops à la Mike Leigh or Christopher Guest, Isitt and her cast improvised a film with much of the low-key, wry idiosyncrasy of A Mighty Wind or Best In Show, and the same loose faux-doc feel. The three couples include a brittle, hyper-competitive duo planning a tennis-themed ceremony; a sweet but stressed couple trying to keep the bride's vain dancer sister and the groom's insufferable rocker buddy from taking over their musicals-themed wedding; and a mellow nudist pair fighting to keep their wedding au naturale in spite of the magazine's distaste. There are a few actual punchlines—at one point, the tennis couple's nasty male half snarls at his fiancée, "Please get it into your thick head how much I respect you!" But most of the humor comes from the friction between schadenfreude and sympathy as six people watch ceremonies meant as personal confirmations of love spiral wildly out of control.
Like most improv, Confetti is hit-or-miss, with draggy scenes to compensate for its giddy pleasures. It compensates with quick-stepping but not manic pacing and a winning cast of young British comedy vets (most notably, The Office's sad-sack Martin Freeman) who sell their roles with assurance. This style of film is a risky balancing act: If the characters get too goofy, the verisimilitude is lost, but if they aren't goofy enough, suddenly there's no comedy. Isitt holds the line by keeping her characters' intentions believable enough to justify their outrageous actions. Anyone who's been closely involved with a wedding knows exactly how these beleaguered schmucks feel. Those who haven't may just take Confetti as a lighthearted but convincing argument for elopement.