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Nativity 2: Danger In The Manger! - DVD Review

Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger!

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 1 out of 5

IT’S difficult to remember a film more annoying this year than Nativity 2: Danger In The Manger!.

From hysterical start to onerous finish, this is a film that grates at every opportunity because of a non-existent script, a cluster of irritating performances, countless Christmas-themed songs and a story so inept that it should never have made it past the page.

With original leading man Martin Freeman long since packed off to Middle Earth, St. Bernadette’s gets a new teacher in the form of the amiable Mr Peterson (David Tennant), whose wife is expecting their first child and who has been forced to live in the shadow of his much more successful twin brother, Roderick (also played by Tennant).

Coerced by the school’s juvenile classroom assistant Mr Poppy (Marc Wootton) into taking his new young charges to the Song For Christmas talent competition in Wales, Mr Peterson and kids subsequently embark on an adventure that sees them getting lost in forests and up mountains and finally competing against Roderick in the competition.

Written and directed, like the original Nativity, by Debbie Isitt, this overlong sequel struggles to work on any level.

Story-wise, it’s appalling whether indulging in religious metaphors involving Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem, or frequently placing the kids and a stolen baby in all sorts of peril (including throwing them up in the air, dangling them off mountains or just generally putting them in all sorts of harm’s way).

Isitt may argue that it’s all about the fun and that the movie can be enjoyed by those who suspend disbelief. But that would be cutting her too much slack.

For throughout her movie there are problems that beggar belief. Wootton’s Mr Poppy, for instance, is a character so inept, so annoying and so removed from reality that his presence antagonises like a red rag to a bull, while the far-fetched ending involving the birth of Mr Peterson’s twins in, you guessed it, a manger is just plain crass.

Tennant somehow manages to emerge with reputation intact and turns in some kind of performance, while Joanna Page as his long-suffering wife deserves more screen-time. Some of the kids, too, are amusing, especially during the improvised audition process.

But any feelings of goodwill towards this movie are so fleeting that they are almost instantly negated by another feel-bad sequence waiting in the wings. And that’s not even mentioning the incessant screaming and shouting of most cast members or the appalling Christmas songs that are supposed to get you into the seasonal spirit.

Nativity 2: Danger In The Manger! is a truly abysmal experience that really has nothing to redeem it.

Certificate: U
Running time: 105mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: November 18, 2013