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Konfetti
Genre Comedy
 
Review:

Every little girl dreams of her wedding day. It's an outrageous generalisation, but popular culture seems geared towards celebrating this as the most special day on every girl's calendar. Months, if not years of planning, go into one pristine day that has to be just perfect... even if the husband isn't. With so much expectation and so much that can go wrong, weddings are an ideal situation for calamity and romantic comedy dramas like Konfetti.

The film is based on Louw Venter's one man show, The Best Man's Speech. As such, it revolves around the best man's wedding preparation, venue teething issues and extended family politics before unleashing the momentous foot-in-mouth speech. Louw Venter's screenplay combines English and Afrikaans to create a universal story about cold feet and wedding jitters.

We've seen a number of solid local "romcoms" hit the big screen over the last few years. While mostly formulaic, they demonstrated we have the ability and the market to sustain this genre. To it's credit, Konfetti breaks loose from the trappings of a cookie-cutter "romcom", representing more down-to-earth characters and trashing the notion of the perfect wedding without remorse.

As warts-and-all as the characters are, Konfetti finds itself desperately in need of some hope in humanity. A full range of negative emotion is on show and the characters are so unlikable that without someone to root for, it becomes a spectator comedy. While there are one or two good laughs surrounding Barry White and speech time, it's just not much more than a series of good intentions and unfortunate events.

Konfetti boasts an ensemble with some strong local acting talent, but the long guest list softens the focus and dilutes the overall level of performance. Semi-soet and Jimmy in Pienk actor, Louw Venter, heads the production as Lukas. His performance is convincing as the recovering best man, but we don't really sympathise with his character - making him simply a part of the dysfunction.

It's a good showcase for Casey B. Dolan, who finally gets the screen time she deserves. Dolan lights up the screen with her smile and then serves up an equal dose of tears as one spanner is swapped out for another. The dapper Nico Panagio makes another "romcom" showing, playing a distorted version of Prince Charming to good effect.

The sprawling ensemble encompasses too many talents to mention. Some of the stand outs include: Kim Engelbrecht, who stirs things up as the bewitching wedding singer with a history, Mark Elderkin, who gets his attitude on as the bride's stylist, David Sherwood, who goes on an oblivious reformed colonialist "safari" and Casper de Vries, who sweats the small stuff as the pretentious venue host, Barry White.

The setting is the beautiful Stellenbosch winelands and it's great to see a South African film that isn't forced to have a blaring product placement every two minutes. Konfetti deals with a blend of Afrikaans, Jewish and South African heritage, but could have probably got more comedy leverage out of this clash of culture and faith.

Seasoned South African producer, Zaheer Bhyat, directs his first feature film. While Bhyat has a strong sense of what works, the film needed a bit more guidance. There doesn't seem to be a clear vision for Konfetti, underselling the comedy, missing the mark on the drama and sidestepping the romance, leaving it with a rather bland and inconsistent tone. Perhaps it was an ambitious attempt to reach for the same undercurrent as Rachel Getting Married.

Konfetti is one of those films that probably would've worked better as a mockumentary in the style of Christopher Guest with cutaway interviews like Modern Family. The performances would have come across as more natural, the off-the-cuff comedy more sincere and the roving wedding video documentary format would have suited the character-driven scenario.

It's a shame to see a wedding cake flop, especially with so many fine ingredients. Konfetti lays the anti-romcom on thick with some acerbic-to-irritating characters, but after going the distance to disrupt convention, decides to lean back on the genre trappings by slapping on one big Band-aid of an ending. This comes across as contrived and haphazard, when it probably would have made more sense for the entire wedding party to die tragically... with the exception of the best man of course!

The bottom line: Cold

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