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Fri September 22, 2006
Grounds for divorce
By John DeSando, WCBE's "It's Movie Time"
"Marriage is a fierce battle before which the two partners ask heaven for its blessing, because loving each other is the most audacious of enterprises; the battle is not slow to start, and victory, that is to say freedom, goes to the cleverest." Balzac
As an enduring Anglophile, I am prone to like most Brit culture, with a special place for the old Ealing Studios comedies, which harbored English reserve behind some silly but funny scenarios. The new comedy Confetti doesn't meet Ealing standards or my benign expectations no matter how much it would like to capture the quirky comedy of the non-Ealing Waiting for Guffman, whose town anniversary planner, Corky St. Clair, is much more amusing than the fey, quarrelsome planners in Confetti.
The premise, three engaged couples vie for prizes from the mag Confetti, including a new million dollar house, for the most creative wedding ceremony. So far so good. One couple uses a tennis motif, the second nudist, and the third Hollywood musical. When they actually perform these bizarre ceremonies, the film is entertaining; until then it is almost painful to watch the couples struggle with wedding planners and creative consultants and well meaning but imbecilic relatives.
More important than these humorless shenanigans before the ceremonies is the whole issue of who controls a wedding and is it worth the effort and money anyway. The horror stories of prenuptial preps are well known, not unlike the competition earlier in Keeping Up with the Steins (albeit bar mitzvahs). In Confetti the American Idol-like environment of tough tongued judges and spoil-sport contestants underlies the competition and the spectacle, endangering the simplicity of saying "I do" and making it stick for a lifetime.
The Busby Berkeley sequence, with old and young doing their best to imitate a precision chorus line, is visually fun and a fair embodiment of the best "going-to-the-chapel" spirit. The tennis sequence rates highly for ingenious paralleling of language with a wedding ("love," "match," etc.)
In the style of Mike Leigh, the film had no script. Because director Debbie Isitt needed Leigh's genius to pull that off with her actors, Confetti is grounds for divorce.
John DeSando teaches film at Franklin University and co-hosts WCBE 90.5's "It's Movie Time," which can be heard streaming at www.wcbe.org Fridays at 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm and on demand anytime. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com