At Christmas time we seem to be more forgiving towards slightly crap seasonal movies. This phenomena has seen woeful festive movies elevated to the ranks of watchable, is it the eggnog? The over eating? Or maybe we’re just that little bit more tolerant of disappointment.
Martin Freeman has had a blessed career, The Office made him a known face and with the likes of Sherlock and a starring role in The Hobbit, it’s fair to say that Freeman has done very well for himself. Although nobody mention the ITV sitcom Hardware, how that managed to get a second series is still a total mystery.
Just three years ago this low budget movie showed up in cinemas in the UK, looking more like a one off TV comedy on BBC 1 on Boxing Day, the film surprisingly made over £5 million during its run. Not bad at all.
Nativity is a gentle comedy that flirts dangerously close to being so easy going you almost forget you’re watching a movie. The loveable Martin Freeman plays primary school teacher Paul Maddens, and every year the school competes with a local private school to see who can put on the best nativity play.
To make matters worse he’s given a new teaching assistant Desmond Poppy (Marc Wootton), and after Paul learns the school always comes second he tells a little white lie to their rival. Soon that little lie has gone round the school, and they’re now expecting a Hollywood producer at the play.
Directed by Debbie Isitt the movie retains the improvised feel of her previous feature Confetti, but lacks the laughs of her previous work as this is a very restrained family movie. Whilst this keeps the tone lively, there are moments when the comedy simply falls flat. Marc Wootton saves the day and adds another quirky creation, anybody who has seen his TV series, My New Best Friend will be only to aware of his commitment to a character.
Martin Freeman is the sort of every bloke we can all relate to and root for, he isn’t given a great deal to go on and it’s all utterly predictable down to the happy ever after ending, but for some reason it all comes together to make something endearing but unremarkable. It’s a family movie that younger audience members will enjoy much more than their parents or other older members of the audience.
Earlier this year from out of the blue, news of a sequel going into production creeped out and then it was announced who would be replacing Martin Freeman as the leading man.
When I first heard that former Doctor Who, David Tennant was going to be starring in the sequel to this film I thought it was a joke. Then I heard the title was Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger I was convinced this had to be a clever spoof, and then confirmation that Tennant was going to be playing duel roles as twin brothers had me certain this was a hoax. After mere minutes of searching online, I’d found a poster and some on set pictures this was actually happening.
I am all for homegrown franchises, there are those that think sequel is a dirty word and in some cases it is. We all know sequels are a quick and easy way to milk more money from a pre packed audience, but occasionally they can be just as entertaining as the original. The first was a modest hit but does it really warrant a follow-up?
Debbie Isitt directs the sequel, and David Tennant is joined by Marc Wootton, Jessica Hynes, Joanna Page and Pam Ferris. Nativity 2 arrives in UK cinemas November 23rd and may well be included in the final leg of this Christmas Movie Challenge.