Nativity!

"OK"

Nativity! Review


Clumsily constructed and not very funny, this scruffy British Christmas comedy almost redeems itself with a riotously over-the-top final act that's genuinely entertaining. Shame about everything that came before that.

Paul (Freeman) is a loser who teaches at a primary school in the Midlands. It's been five years since his girlfriend Jennifer (Jensen) left to pursue a Hollywood career and best pal Gordon (Watkins) took a job in a posh school that puts on the most acclaimed Christmas shows in the city. This year, a moronic teacher's assistant Mr Poppy (Wootton) and a desperate-for-fame headmistress (Ferris) have put Paul in charge of the nativity play once again. And a little lie turns Paul's show into the talk of the town.

Alas, the plot feels like a first draft, with unconvincing twists and turns along the way (the gung ho support of the town, a trip to Los Angeles) that feel not only contrived but underdeveloped. Even a gifted comical cast like this one can't bring this material to life, and they certainly try. But since the characters are so underwritten, there's no one we like. Even the supposed heroes are narrow-minded and ill-tempered.

So it's up to the children to win us over. Not only are they far more talented than the story suggests, but they're shamelessly cute. And writer-director Isitt ruthlessly exploits them for from the start with constant scene-stealing cutaways. This strategy works, because we root for them to take the stage and really shine. We don't care about the clumsy romance between Paul and Jennifer, the awkward friendship between Paul and Mr Poppy or the competition between Paul and Gordon.

The final series of events, while extremely clunky dramatically, allows the children to put on a seriously enjoyable show, with amusingly over-the-top staging, slightly warped musical numbers and some rather sweet moments involving the parents. This scene is so much fun that it almost makes up for the 90 minutes that went before, except that constant plot points remind us of the lame narrative. Although in the end, the whole film feels like yet another movie in which beating the competitor into submission is more important than anything else on earth. Even the actual message of Christmas. Sigh.



Nativity!

Facts and Figures

Genre: Romance

Run time: 105 mins

In Theaters: Friday 27th November 2009

Distributed by: Freestyle Digital Media

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 48%
Fresh: 12 Rotten: 13

IMDB: 6.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Debbie Isitt

Producer: Nick Jones

Starring: as Paul Maddens, as Jennifer, as Mayor, as Headmistress, as Mr. Poppy, as Gordon Shakespeare, as Critic

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.