Christmas Movie Advent- Nativity (2009)

“It’s the Nativity, you can’t look cool.”

Watching on Netflix
Length: 1Hr45

A primary school teacher, who was once a failed actor in a former career, is given the task of directing the school’s Nativity play, which doesn’t have a positive track record. Attitudes change however, when it transpires that a Hollywood producer is coming to film the play.

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The Good

For kids, there’s plenty to love. It’s fun with a basic plot and some cute characters that little ones will be entertained by. Being the best of a bad bunch, you will be forgiven for thinking that this is a made of tv outing.

The songs in the final act are quite fun, even from an adult’s stand point. It helps that you have the perfect faux misery in the form of Martin Freeman, in a pre-Sherlock performance that keeps me from pressing stop. Ever since seeing him in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, he’s been the perfect person to play the miser who really just wants to be loved. I couldn’t think of anyone better to play the patsy to Mr Poppy’s foil.

Can’t leave the ‘good’ without mentioning Jason Watkins who steals every scene he’s in as the self obsessed Gordon Shakespeare. His role of the antagonist is probably the best bit of the whole film and he’s able to bridge the gap between the adults and children in a way that is organic and fun.

The Bad

It’s a little too cringe-worthy for anyone watching sans children. The children are adorable, most of the adults do their best but together they really don’t work so well together. It has that feel of Outnumbered; the adults get a script and the children get to do what they want. It just doesn’t fill me with that joy a Christmas film should.

Some of the ‘talents’ the children demonstrate are not going to stand the test of time. Even now, just shy of 10 years, some feel outdated. It’s a shame because I know what they were trying to achieve with it.

The Ugly

While I am certain there is nothing intended beyond a funny, innocent man child to make kids on both sides of the screen, I am not comfortable with Marc Wootton, his portrayal or even the character itself. Mr Poppy, in like of changing social perceptions makes me feel like he’s one thoughtless action away from being on the sex offenders register.

While I have no issue as such with scenes that have Freeman and Wootton interact alone, his relationship with the students and his inability to follow basic protocol just has me on edge and takes me out of the film. Tone it down and I think it would rescue this franchise. 

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