Friday, August 1, 2014

CONFETTI: A Guilty Pleasure

OK.  I admit it.  I recently wrote this on Twitter:  I pray each audience member on The Bachelorette gets a gift bag with a copy of Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique in it.  The TV show from my youth, The Dating Game, seems like a PBS production compared to The Bachelorette and The Bachelor.

With marriage in mind, I want to share one of my favorite "guilty pleasure" DVD rentals with you.  I saw this Fox Searchlight film in theatrical release and laughed out loud many times.  So did the rest of the audience.  It's so loopy and so ultimately heart-warming.  It's a mockumentary called Confetti and it boasts a British cast.  In fact, I paid to see it because it has actors I discovered in BBC sitcoms I saw on BBC America.  The lead actor, Martin Freeman, went on to become popular with American audiences for his Emmy-nominated work in TV's Sherlock and Fargo.  On the big screen for The Hobbit adventures, he played Bilbo.  Freeman was in the cast of Britain's hit sitcom, The Office.

The NBC remake of that sitcom for American viewers was also a hit.

Freeman is quite the versatile actor.  I love the way he does comedy.

In Confetti, he's half of a couple in a "Most Original Wedding of the Year" competition.  This is a huge marketing gimmick.  A glossy and posh bridal magazine called Confetti holds the contest.  The prize is a house for the winning couple.

We get to know the three couples and the nature of their relationship, their quirks and their talents.  If they have talents.

It's the relationships, the insecurities and the lacks of talent that make you laugh.

The big show will involve a musical extravaganza wedding number.  Freeman's character is a huge fan of classic Hollywood musicals.

One of the other couples chosen to compete has a macho jerk loudmouth tennis player and his mousey fianceé with a most unfortunate nose.

The tennis player works the last good nerve of just about everyone --  including two lovable, down-to-earth wedding planners.  They're a gay British couple.  You'd want these two guys as friends, neighbors or relatives.  They're about as sweet as they can be helping couples realize their  original wedding theme ideas.

Being that the contest was hatched by a prestigious publication, contestants have to deal with corporate types.  And vice-versa.  The third couple chosen to compete is a pair of naturalists.  These two take their nudism seriously.  To them, it's not a gimmick.

Theirs is a section of Confetti that really had me laughing a lot.  The naturalists have to meet with the corporate types who chose them yet want them to compete nude -- but with clothes on.

Robert Webb is another actor I discovered on BBC sitcoms.  Webb and his comedy partner, David Mitchell, played unlikely roommates in the sitcom, Peep Show.  Webb's character was very much the candid, free spirited, working class guy. This one is no exception.

He and his fianceé go to the Confetti Magazine offices for a meeting and he dresses for the meeting the way he usually dresses.  If you know what I mean.  And I'm sure you do.
This romantic comedy mockumentary is full is improvisational acting.  All the actors are totally in character and committed to the drama of their characters which makes the comedy funny.  They're not going for the laughs.  Webb is not only committed to his character, he's stark naked on a couch and having a serious, business conversation.  However, in the cineplex audience, we could not help but break up laughing at the fact that -- on the big screen -- his bollocks looked to be the size of watermelons.
Confetti is a hoot.  Not quite the caliber of the This Is Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman and A Mighty Wind mockumentaries but this 2006 release gives its share of good giggles.   And it smartly incorporates two classic songs into the story.  One song was introduced by Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly in High Society and the other was introduced by Fred Astaire, sung to Ginger Rogers in Top Hat.
Just like TV's The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, it has a marriage proposal.  Plus more laughs .  And folks who look like real people, real people in love.  The single people on The Bachelor and Bachelorette are all young, slim and very photogenic.  This daffy, gentle mockumentary has a tenderness.  It does what our network reality mating shows don't.  It shows you that true love is not exclusively the birthright of the gorgeous.  Thank you, director and writer Debbie Isitt, for Confetti.  It put a smile on my face.

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