NATIVITY 2: DANGER IN THE MANGER (Debbie Isitt, 2012)

nativity 2

Starring: David Tennant (twice), Marc Wootton, Jason Watkins

Genre: Comedy/ Family/ Christmas

After Mr. Maddens (Martin Freeman) got offered a role in a much bigger film, the new teacher, Mr. Peterson (Tennant) arrives as the new teacher, unaware of the carnage that takes place at When hearing that there is a competition for schools called ‘Song For Christmas’, man-child Mr. Poppy (Wootton) secretly enters the school and drives to the competition in Wales, kidnapping Mr Peterson in the process. And so starts out an eventful road trip as they struggle to make it to the competition on time where they will be up against a school choir led by world famous composer and Mr. Petersons twin brother, Roderick Peterson (also Tennant).

Of course, with so many things context is always very important to consider: In the case of 2009s outrageously successful Nativity the context of what the target audience happened to be is of course important to consider. I am admittedly a slightly cynical and even slightly more snobbish man in the twilight of his twenties so not the intended audience for such a film. Nativity was of course flawed, clichéd and predictable, but taking into context that it was a festive genre film and what its target audience was then it was a perfectly fine and actually both charming and enjoyable in its own way. Now we have the inevitable sequel with a (rhyming, so catchy) but slightly inaccurate title, as we have no actual Nativity but it had to have that word in the title for marketing reasons.

Is Nativity 2 a genuinely uplifting film of real heart, or an extremely cynically made profit making soulless product? I would argue the latter, this is the inevitable sequel to a hugely successful film that cynically takes advantage of the mindset of its target audience. It is predictable and absolutely ridiculous at times with what happens in the plot. There are of course takes on the ideas of family, but it is all best ignored as there is never any genuine effort put into these clunky plot devices. As the characters are sent on the road, it seems this time writer/director Debbie Isitt tries to crank everything up as much as possible with no consideration for logic or it seems the actual law.

In what is not exactly a testing dual role, Tennant is on total auto pilot, but then never needs to be anything more. Meanwhile Marc Wootton reprises his role as man-child Mr. Poppy, and is not only really irritating but his character should probably be in prison. The supporting cast of familiar British faces are all enjoying themselves and over acting as much as possible (Jessica Hynes the standout), and are just happy to pick up their pay cheques.

However, and I would argue this is the most important thing: Before my age hit double figures I know that I would have really enjoyed this. Mr. Poppy commits many crimes and sometimes essentially puts the lives of the children in great danger, but at a young age I know I would have found this absolute farce extremely enjoyable and fun. So there you go, enough said. Films are essentially entertainment first and foremost (particularly for younger viewers) and Nativity 2 does its job. The rebellious nature of the narrative developments is very farfetched (and morally questionable at times) but I know that along with plenty of fart jokes would have appealed to me as a child. If you have young children, then I think this may well keep them entertained for 100 minutes, just remind them that abseiling down a cliff face should be left to professionals! However, the lack of actual good jokes for adults may mean that is not one for the entire family, so maybe leave this on for the kids while making Christmas dinner. I of course do not want to sound patronising when referring to the younger audience, but am just being honest about what I would have liked when at that age and saw the world differently.

Nativity 2: Danger in the Major is a cynically made festive genre film by numbers that essentially takes advantage of it’s target audience. However, when I was the age of the target audience (under 10s) I would have loved it, so I would like to think that so would they.

Over 10s: 2/10

Under 10s: 8/10

To see my personal top 10 Christmas films click here, and no, neither of the Nativity films feature!

About MoodyB

An extremely passionate and (semi) opened minded film reviewer, with a hint of snobbish.
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One Response to NATIVITY 2: DANGER IN THE MANGER (Debbie Isitt, 2012)

  1. jjames36 says:

    Well. I’m over 10. So I’ll stay away.

    Great review!

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