Review: Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger

Director: Debbie Isitt

Starring: David Tennant, Jessica Hynes, Marc Wootton, Pam Ferris

Rating: ★★★★

Singing children, a stolen baby, a bus shaped like a boat and a flying donkey are just some of the key ingredients to new festive family frolic “Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger” the follow up to 2009’s Nativity starring Martin Freeman and Alan Carr.

The newest instalment sees Mr. Peterson (David Tennant) moving to a new home with his pregnant wife (Joanna Page) to take on a teaching post at St. Bernadette’s, an underachieving comprehensive school from which every substitute teacher has quit due to their inability to work with challenging teaching assistant, Mr. Poppy (Marc Wootton).

The film’s story revolves around a Christmas singing competition, which Mr. Poppy and his class desperately want to enter, but have had their hopes dashed by the headmistress, Mr. Poppy’s aunt, who says they may not enter due to lack of school funds.  So follows a scene of almost sickly-sweet sentimentality, where the children all visit Santa Claus and ask him to make their Christmas wish come true: to win the national “Sing a Song for Christmas” competition.

In steps the delightful Mr. Peterson (cue a scene of him being chased around the playground by a group of savage children and being mocked by the teaching assistant for his accent).  He and his wife have moved to the area to make a fresh start, Peterson having spent the majority of his life in the shadow of his high-flying twin brother (you guessed it, also played by Tennant).

Having refused to sign the form that will allow the children to enter, he is effectively kidnapped by his own class and taken on a cross-country trip to the “Christmas Castle” in Wales, where the competition will be held.  Along the way, they have all sorts of bizarre adventures, including rescuing a stranded member of an opposing school’s choir, abseiling off a cliff, white water rafting and having a cosy sing song around a campfire in a deserted cave.  As events begin to unfold, could it be that Mr. Peterson is facing his very own Christmas story?

The film as a whole is thoroughly enjoyable, with plenty of laughs for young and old alike, as well as a fantastic original soundtrack, comprised almost entirely of singing six year olds.  Despite being a comedy on the surface, there is also a serious element to the film, which focuses on the idea of family, and how imperfection is a natural part of being human.

If you’re looking for a light hearted festive adventure, Nativity 2 is definitely the film for you.  And truthfully, any film in which David Tennant plays not one, but two roles, definitely gets two thumbs up in my book any day!

By Nicola McFadyen} else {