A stable option
Nativity 2: Danger In The Manger! (U, 105
Family/Comedy/Romance. David Tennant, Marc Wootton, Jason
Watkins, Jessica Hynes, Pam Ferris, Joanna Page, Ian McNeice.
Director: Debbie Isitt.
Writer-director Debbie Isitt gets back in the Christmas spirit
for this eagerly awaited sequel to her hugely entertaining 2009
Nativity 2: Danger In The Manger! is cast in the same wonky
mould as its predecessor, relying on the improvisational skills of
actors within a loose narrative framework to create moments of
There are sporadic laughs here courtesy of Marc Wootton as a
reckless man-child and his exuberant young co-stars, who were
plucked from open auditions in Coventry.
However, plausibility is dismissed entirely during the second
half of the film, when a class trip through the rolling hills of
Wales descends into farce and contrivance.
St Bernadette's primary school is in dire straits and
headmistress Mrs Bevans (Pam Ferris) is at the end of her
She can barely contain her relief when supply teacher Donald
Peterson (David Tennant) arrives to take charge of the excitable
One disastrous lesson with hyperactive classroom assistant Mr
Poppy (Wootton) is enough to convince Mr Peterson that he has made
a terrible mistake.
"If you can work with him until Christmas, I'll make you
headmaster in January," Mrs Bevans promises Donald.
So Mr Peterson persists, helping Mr Poppy to audition the
children for a national choir competition called A Song For
The pipe dream of performing becomes reality and Mr Peterson
finds himself on the road with Mr Poppy and most of the class in an
amphibious tour bus.
Bound for the competition in Wales, which is hosted by local
celebrity Angel Matthews (Jessica Hynes), one of the children
brings along a baby sibling to complete Mr Poppy's artistic vision,
leaving Mr Peterson in a permanent state of distress about the
"Babies bounce," Mr Poppy assures him. "I fell on my head when I
was a baby."
"That explains a lot," retorts Donald.
Private school Oakmoor and its snooty teacher Gordon Shakespeare
(Jason Watkins) re-ignite their rivalry with St Bernadette's by
entering the same competition.
Meanwhile, Mr Peterson faces his identical twin brother Roderick
(Tennant again), who intends to woo the judges with a faultless
performance from his well-rehearsed St Cuthbert's College boys.
Nativity 2 is as sweet and frothy as a mug of freshly poured hot
The ramshackle plot provides Wootton with plentiful excuses to
behave like a maniac, reducing pint-sized co-stars to sniggers with
his childish antics.
Tennant has fun as chalk-and-cheese siblings and the somewhat
protracted finale rattles through musical styles including a Justin
Bieber-esque cutie cooing She's My Snow Angel and an ethereal Irish
group trilling The Spirit Of The Trees.
For all the festive cheer, Isitt's return to St Bernadette's
If the film was a Christmas cracker, someone has forgotten to
insert the snap.
:: No Swearing :: No Sex :: No Violence :: Rating: 5/10
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