Newest Review: ... Shakespeare Ashley Jensen ... Jennifer Lore Pam Ferris ... Mrs. Bevan Alan Carr ... The Critic Ricky Tomlinson ... Mayor Avai... more
Mr Madden Gets Some Christmas Spirit
Member Name: Andy.mack
Advantages: Great movie if youve got kids
Disadvantages: Didnt really appeal to me
When it gets closer to Christmas, Jen seems to have this need to watch Christmas movies almost constantly. In fact it's got to the point where our Sky Plus box seems to be recording at least one movie every day between about 2 weeks ago and Christmas day. So when we spotted a film from 2009 on lovefilm she really wanted to see it and as a result it went to the top of our list and somehow ended up being the next title we were sent. I personally wasn't really looking forward to it, although the fact that Martin Freeman was in the lead role did fill me with some hope at least.
It's almost Christmas time and primary school teacher Paul Maddens has been given the task of producing the schools Nativity play. Having avoid plays and shows for years Paul is a little nervous and competing against his onetime best friends for the title of the best Nativity he has to raise his game. He makes an innocent statement that his ex-girlfriend Jennifer, now a Hollywood producer will be coming to see his Nativity with a view to turning it into a movie. The problem is that they haven't spoken since she left and so with the help of his teaching assistant Mr Poppy, Paul has to create the best Nativity and also convince Jennifer to come and see it.
The film comes from director and writer Debbie Isitt, who was also behind 2006's Wedding based comedy, also starring Martin Freeman, Confetti. She does the simple things well and has created a story that parents can watch with their children. It is an amusing movie that flows quite nicely but I think it is more of a film for children than for the adults. A lot of the humour is aimed at the younger viewers and whilst that will be good for families who want to watch a movie, for two adults without children it doesn't really work.
Of course with the Christmas theme running through the movie it goes without saying really that Jen loved it. The twists in the script are pretty obvious and there isn't really any new concepts thrown into the plot but it works. The end result is an enjoyable movie that tells a decent story but never really excels. It's a movie that works and doesn't try to be too clever, which I think actually makes it more appealing. At 105 minutes long it is a little too long, but on the whole it flows nicely and it just needs to be remembered that it's meant to be a feel good type of movie and that's exactly what it is.
In the lead role Martin Freeman had to make sure he portrayed a sense of despair and misery around Christmas and I thought he did this rather well. He managed to portray the hurt his character felt about his girlfriend leaving, but also the turnaround as he got more involved in the Nativity. With no real tests of his acting ability this was a pretty straightforward role for Freeman, but he did what he had to do. The casting of Marc Wootton as his teaching assistant Mr Poppy was actually quite a good choice.
The character needed to appear like a kids TV presenter and Wootton seemed to pull this off with ease. He seemed quite at ease with the children and they responded with what looked like quite a natural response to him, which added a little more conviction to the character. The real stars of the show were the children. It looked at times like they were just meant to improvise the scenes and that worked rather well. It's not a film with standout performance, but rather one where everyone does exactly what is expected of them.
This is a pretty decent film, but unless you've got Kids I can't really recommend it. Whilst I would say that I enjoyed it, I think there are a lot of films I'd rather watch before this. It's a decent movie that entertains with a good cast and an interesting idea. It's a movie I'm sure will get an outing over Christmas on TV this year and perhaps then it would be worth watching, but unless you're a huge fan of Martin Freeman or Marc Wootton, I really wouldn't recommend spending any money to see this. It's a decent enough film, just not really one that appealed to me.
Summary: A reasonable family film