Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger



Adorable misfits on zany Xmas adventure; some potty humor.
  • Review Date: July 16, 2014
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 105 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

This family holiday movie is meant to entertain rather than educate.

Positive messages

Having fun is more important than winning prizes. You can do anything if you believe it can be done, if you believe in yourself, and if you believe in your friends. It's easy to get caught up in holiday frenzy, but a climactic musical number admonishes, "Don't forget about the baby born in the hay."  

Positive role models

Mr. Peterson is a rule follower at first but learns to lighten up and eventually becomes willing to try even the craziest schemes. Mr. Poppy is a free spirit who never really grew up. His child-like enthusiasm and wonder make learning fun for the kids, and he blindly, crazily keeps going against all odds, sure that everything will work out fine. There are no real villains, but Mr. Peterson's father and brother disapprove of his teaching career choice and are emotionally distant. The brother, Roderick, and another rival choirmaster each play a dirty trick to get the advantage in a contest, which in the end doesn't work, and they see the error of their ways. The children are a group of lovable misfits who bravely overcome obstacles to achieve their goal.

Violence & scariness

The violence is slapstick and played for laughs.  Among the adults, there are some light slaps on the face and a bite on the arm during a struggle, and one hits another in the back with a clipboard. Kids playing with what appear to be lightweight tubes as sticks gang up on and lightly hit an adult, who is playing with them, in pretend swordplay. One sequence has Mr. Peterson and a student in danger of falling from a cliff, which is safely resolved.

Sexy stuff

Adults kiss each other four or five times on the cheeks and lips, platonically and in celebration. Mr. and Mrs. Peterson kiss on the lips once or twice, also in celebration. Elementary school-age children witness childbirth, which isn't shown directly but includes grunting, yelling, and reaction shots.


Early classroom shenanigans involve abundant use of "poo" (including showing some joke-shop fake poo) and plenty of references to farting, but the potty humor is left behind before long. In the context of changing diapers, "poo-poo" and "wee" are used a couple of times.


Mr. Poppy is fleetingly shown carrying many cases of candy bars, and Peanut M&Ms are clearly visible. Justin Bieber is mentioned several times.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the title "Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger" is a bit deceptive. This standalone sequel to a 2009 U.K. Christmas movie, Nativity!, has very little danger, and none of what's there is in the manger. One sequence shows a teacher and student in danger of falling off a cliff, but it's safely resolved. "Poo" is used quite a few times, and the beginning is loaded with potty humor that quickly gets left behind. The holiday fun and hijinks are punctuated with positive messages about how you can do anything if you believe and about the importance of family and loved ones.

What's the story?

With his wife (Joanna Page) expecting a baby soon, Mr. Peterson (David Tennant) takes the teaching job no one else will: working with the madcap classroom assistant Mr. Poppy (Marc Wootton). When Mr. Poppy finds out about a Christmas choir contest in Wales, he and his lovable misfit students determine to enter the contest. Getting to the contest halfway across the U.K. is no small task, but if the two teachers can learn to work together, they and the kids might just get their Christmas wishes.

Is it any good?


NATIVITY 2: DANGER IN THE MANGER is a fun, madcap holiday adventure. The strongest appeal is probably to younger kids, who'll easily relate to the excellent cast of elementary school-age misfits, envy their zany teacher Mr. Poppy, and root for them to make their Christmas wishes come true. Belly laughs are in short supply for teens and adults, but Marc Wootton (Mr. Poppy) does an appealing turn channeling School of Rockand David Tennant adds some charm as the straight man of the duo.

The pacing slows a bit when too much time is spent on the competitors' performances at the big show, but it probably won't bother kids who'll enjoy watching others their own age shine on a national stage. The script, acting, and music all are enjoyable, if not stellar. Although not destined to be a true classic, this fun holiday romp will leave you feeling full of cheer.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about their favorite holiday movies. Do you have an all-time favorite? Do you like this one as much as your favorite? How is it different?

  • Who would you rather have as a teacher: Mr. Peterson or Mr. Poppy? Why?

  • Mr. Peterson learns to try things even if he isn't sure they'll work. What's something you've tried when you didn't know if you'd succeed? What did you learn from trying?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 23, 2012
DVD release date:November 19, 2013
Cast:David Tennant, Marc Wootton, Joanna Page, Ian McNeice
Director:Debbie Isitt
Studios:Media Pro Six, Mirrorball Films, Moviehouse Entertainment, Premiere Picture
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Adventures, Holidays, Misfits and underdogs, Music and sing-along
Run time:105 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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