A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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.
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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 Rock, and 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.
Talk to your kids 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?
- In theaters: November 23, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: 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
- Last updated: May 13, 2020
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