Nativity!

Nativity!

This Christmas, primary school teacher Paul Maddens (Martin Freeman) is being charged with the biggest challenge of his life - mounting the school's musical version of the Nativity. Competing against the posh neighbouring school for the honour of the best reviewed show in town, the stakes are raised when Paul idly boasts that his ex-girlfriend Jennifer (Ashley Jensen), a Hollywood producer, is coming to see his show with a view to turning it into a film. The only trouble is - they haven't spoken in years. With eccentric teaching assistant Mr Poppy (Marc Wootton) fuelling his 'little white lie', Maddens suddenly finds himself a local celebrity and at the centre of quarelling parents and over-excited children desperate in their bid for fame and fortune. Now Maddens' only hope is to get back in touch with Jennifer and lure Hollywood to town so that everybody's Christmas wishes come true.--©Official Site 2.0 out of 5 based on 11 reviews
Nativity!

Omniscore:

Certificate
Genre Family / Children
Director Debbie Isitt
Cast Ashley Jensen, Pam Ferris Martin Freeman
Studio BBC Films
Release Date November 2009
Running Time
 

This Christmas, primary school teacher Paul Maddens (Martin Freeman) is being charged with the biggest challenge of his life - mounting the school's musical version of the Nativity. Competing against the posh neighbouring school for the honour of the best reviewed show in town, the stakes are raised when Paul idly boasts that his ex-girlfriend Jennifer (Ashley Jensen), a Hollywood producer, is coming to see his show with a view to turning it into a film. The only trouble is - they haven't spoken in years. With eccentric teaching assistant Mr Poppy (Marc Wootton) fuelling his 'little white lie', Maddens suddenly finds himself a local celebrity and at the centre of quarelling parents and over-excited children desperate in their bid for fame and fortune. Now Maddens' only hope is to get back in touch with Jennifer and lure Hollywood to town so that everybody's Christmas wishes come true.--©Official Site

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Reviews

Variety

Derek Elley

A putting-on-a-show Britcom that bounces along on its energy and offbeat humor, "Nativity!" is uncloying entertainment that gives family fare a good name.

30/11/2009

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Empire Magazine

Angie Errigo

And there is perhaps a tad more cuteness than strictly necessary, even if the kids are adorably genuine. It’s also hard to argue this is particularly cinematic when it would sit perfectly cosily on the BBC or C4 at Yuletide. But one can’t accuse it of lacking heart.

01/12/2009

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The Sunday Telegraph

Tim Robey

But it improves, big-time, partly because Freeman and Jensen play the pathos so well, and partly because the actual show is a genuine delight, catchily penned by Isitt herself, and asking the kids to be kids, in all their cloying, charming, Britain's Got Not Enough Talent glory.

27/11/2009

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The Times

Wendy Ide

It’s pretty dire. A five-year-old could predict the story arc — given the improvised nature of the film, a five-year-old probably did. The songs are undeniably catchy. But then, so is swine flu.

28/11/2009

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The Sunday Times

Wendy Ide

The Coventry-based film-maker Debbie Isitt combines the upbeat onslaught of a Richard Curtis movie with the car crash amateurism of the X Factor audition rounds in her latest improvised comedy, Nativity.

27/11/2009

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The Financial Times

Nigel Andrews

...advancing schmaltz...

26/11/2009

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Channel 4 Film

Matt McNally

Writing an honest review of Nativity, Debbie Isitt's seasonal improv comedy, is a bit like bombing a children's hospital in order to blow up a weapons cache in the basement. That's because standing arm-in-arm in front of experienced cast members such as Martin Freeman and Ashley Jensen is a flock of innocent, eight-to-12 year-old newcomers. Sure, you can lob over a few missiles - a mention of the confused plotting, a word on the scarcity of good one-liners - but sooner or later one of those little sweeties is going to catch your grenade.

01/12/2009

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The Observer

Jason Solomons

Another British comedy limps into cinemas having inexplicably wrestled its way out of a television script meeting.

29/11/2009

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The Scotsman

Alistair Harkness

BAR-LOWERING British sitcom cinema meets Kids Do The Funniest Things in Nativity!, a horribly shrill seasonal flick

27/11/2009

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The Independent on Sunday

Nicholas Barber

Isitt's attitude seems to be that a coherent story and some half-decent jokes are surplus to requirements when you can point a camera at some perky children singing and dancing. After torturing us with 90 minutes of rehearsal montages, she makes us sit through the entirety of the school's Christmas rock opera at the end. That's not just adding insult to injury, it's adding injury to injury.

29/11/2009

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Time Out

David Jenkins

Here is a list of things that sprang to mind while watching Debbie Isitt’s festive putting-on-a-show ordeal... the myth of Middle English quaintness; the bad ‘Carry On’ films; CBeebies if Ronnie Corbett was artistic director; filmmaking by committee, if that committee were made up of the esteemed members of Coventry City Council and chaired by Lenny Henry

26/11/2009

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