Paul Maddens’ life did not really go in the direction he was expecting and his long time girlfriend Jennifer leaving him to pursue a career in LA was the final straw, he hated himself, his life and his job as a Primary School teacher. Everything is about to get worse when he is in charge of this years Christmas Nativity Play and promises that Hollywood are coming to watch and record it!
I had never got round to watching this film until this morning and it is both good and bad, sometimes that happens at the same time which is a pretty impressive thing to be able to do as a film. I mean the good has to be Martin Freeman, he really is fantastic in the leading role and just shows why he has ended up as a global star in all different types of films and TV series. He is an impressive actor and I think he is truly believable as the fed up Mr Maddens.
A lot of work has to go into the Nativity plays in schools and this seems to be a lot of added stress for the teachers involved. Although I know this year that some schools are not actually putting one together and doing something different instead. The way the film is set up story wise it is a very creative production, with plenty of singing, dancing and lights. As well as competing with another school, a posher school who always receive 5 star reviews. Oh yes the plays apparently get reviewed as well, imagine if that actually happened for this age range, would be absolute hell on!
Mr. Poppy a new teaching assistant is brought in to work with Mr Madden and his class, but he is actually just a big kid himself. This obviously creates many problems as well as amusing moments. I opted to say amusing rather than funny as I thought the character was a bit out of place as I cannot imagine any school acting giving a job to someone like that who actually still talks with a babyish voice. Anyway I am digressing a little bit.
I will admit though that the parts with the children are very well done and how they find it important to be in the show. The annoying part is obviously the “Hollywood” angle which just grows old very quickly, but I guess they needed something slightly different to make an actually film based around a Primary Nativity play. I liked the different songs and performances from the children and thought that it was pretty real life like in terms of them fighting over who was going to be the different parts.
After Martin Freeman’s performance though I am struggling to pick anyone else out as coming close. I guess the perfect audience for this film would be teachers and parents of children performing in a play over the Christmas period. By no means the worst Christmas film I have seen though, but I don’t really think I will find myself wanting to revisit it either once is certainly enough. It did manage to get quite a lot of familiar British stars in the smaller roles though which was encouraging to see. I also believe that it does have two sequels? Although not really sure which cast members have stayed, if any?