Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger! Movie Review
After 2009's inane comedy Nativity, no one was clamouring for a sequel, but at least this one tips the scales into sublime silliness. If you can suspend your disbelief, this might even be a guilty pleasure, complete with stars behaving stupidly, adorable children and a series of hilariously corny pastiche Christmas songs.
Things continue to be rather chaotic at St Bernadette's Primary School in Coventry, mainly because the headmistress (Ferris) is still employing her idiotic nephew Mr Poppy (Wootton) as a classroom assistant. He's just scared off another applicant for the teaching job when the tenacious Mr Peterson (Tennant) arrives with his pregnant wife (Page), determined to stick it out. Somehow Poppy convinces Peterson to take the kids on an illicit cross-country journey to a Song for Christmas competition in Wales, at which the kids will face competition from school rival Mr Shakespeare (Watkins) as well as Peterson's estranged twin brother Roderick (also Tennant), a snooty composer with a professional choir.
The plot is utterly preposterous, and as the wacky events progress, writer-director Isitt never even tries to ground the movie in realism. In fact, there's a point about halfway through where it becomes pure fantasy, so complaints about believability don't really apply. The only way to survive watching it is to sit back and enjoy the inane plot and goofy slapstick. And by doing so, we're surprised that the film is actually rather enjoyably ridiculous.
Most of the characters are as simple as you'd expect, and Tennant bears the brunt of the most frantic gags with exasperated good humour. Wootton generates just a tenuous hint of humanity in the infuriatingly dim-witted Poppy. And Hynes steals the show as the vain compere of the big competition, where children's choirs sing a series of riotously funny parodies of Christmas songs that are so clever you'll want a copy of the soundtrack. Yes, it's broad and dopey and packed with blatantly irresponsible behaviour. But kids - and the kid inside us - will love it.