David Tennant fails to lift a family flop

FILM
NATIVITY 2: DANGER IN THE MANGER
Cert U |
*

David Tennant must have something against car-producing cities in the West Midlands. Only this would explain his descent from playing Hamlet and Dr Who to starring in this 101 minute insult to the city of Coventry.

Tennant plays Mr Peterson, a teacher who has moved to the midlands to pursue a job as a primary school teacher. The headmistress wants him to restore discipline in her chaotic school. Here he meets Mr Poppy (Mark Wootton), an idiotic teaching assistant beloved by the children but hated by the rest of the teaching staff. Mr Poppy defies Mr Peterson by entering the children into a national singing competition. To win, their ramshackle ensemble must defeat better-rehearsed choirs from local public schools.

The last 40 minutes essentially amount to a sadistically long primary school assembly: and if this film has taught me anything, it is that school assemblies are only endurable if your own child is performing.

Nativity 2 is also a film of unparalleled ugliness. The combination of drab grey visuals and precocious child actors makes it feel like a CBBC Jacqueline Wilson adaptation.

It embraces the tacky, depressing side of Christmas – tinsel and frozen pigs in blankets from Iceland – with such gormless enthusiasm that there is no room for even the faintest glow of festive magic.