6.5/10
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32 user 38 critic

Nativity! (2009)

An improvised comedy based around a school nativity play.

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(screenplay)
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From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Paul Maddens
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Jennifer Lore
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The Critic
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Mayor
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Mr. Lore
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Mrs. Lore
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Studio Boss
Geoffrey Hutchings ...
Father Tom
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Harrison
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Studio Receptionist
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Oakmoor Headmistress
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Storyline

This Christmas, primary school teacher Paul Maddens is charged with producing the school's nativity play. Competing against the posh rival school for the honor of best reviewed show in town, the stakes are raised when Paul idly boasts that his ex-girlfriend Jennifer, a Hollywood Producer, is coming to see his show with a view to turning it into a film. The only trouble is - they haven't spoken in years. With eccentric assistant Mr Poppy fuelling his 'little white lie', Maddens suddenly finds himself a local celebrity and at the center of quarreling parents and over-excited children desperate in their bid for fame and fortune. Maddens' only hope is to get back in touch with Jennifer and lure Hollywood to town so that everybody's Christmas wishes come true. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Family

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for brief language and mild rude humor | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 November 2009 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Der Weihnachtsmuffel  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£794,314 (UK) (29 November 2009)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the scene where Paul Maddens (Freeman) is at the studios in Hollywood, Jennifer admits she's not an executive producer and doesn't have the power to help. Maddens then asks if there's 'someone out here called Harvey or Bob who can help me out' an obvious reference to Harvey and Bob Weinstein. See more »

Goofs

When TJ has finished singing 'Good News' the harness starts to pull him back up to the spire, he is not wearing his robe, when the camera changes angle we see that he is now wearing his robe. See more »

Crazy Credits

End-credits dedication: "This film is dedicated to inspirational teachers everywhere." See more »

Connections

Featured in Angela and Friends: Episode #1.14 (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

You Make me Feel (Mighty Real)
Written by Sylvester (as James Sylvester) and James Wirrick
Performed by Thomas McGaritty
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User Reviews

 
As warm and as enchanting as a Whisky Mac.
20 December 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

He's a failed actor, his girlfriend has left him and gone to make it big in America, and now, school teacher Paul Maddens has to direct the Nativity play. Worse still, after a little white bragging lie to an old rival, Maddens finds things escalating out of his control.

Ah, the Christmas movie, a piece of work aimed at a certain market at a certain time of year. Many movies of Christmas past have been excruciatingly bad, either by losing sight of the holiday heart, or by going for a different angle at a season which is meant to be jolly. In the main then, the Crimble picture has been blighted by a train of thinking akin to damned if you do, damned if you don't. Debbie Isitt's Nativity! will not achieve any reviews proclaiming it to be refreshingly new, rightly so since it's a standard seasonal fare based story. What hopefully will be said is how utterly beguiling and warming the film is, so yeah! Basically a Christmas picture doing its job.

Chiefly in its favour is that it has a naturalness to it that keeps its charm grounded. There's no miracle in the offering here, no boink over the head with a sledgehammer to enforce its message. Isitt is happy letting the film and its delightful characters go with the flow, the result ending up as being a fully involving experience. It helps too that the army of children (plucked from local auditions by Issitt) are adorable and funny in equal measure. Not that the adults come up short either. Martin Freeman (Maddens) gives a wonderfully controlled performance as the central character, while Marc Wooton as Mr. Poppy, a character showing the child in all us adults, almost steals the movie from the delightful moppet squad. It has its faults, such as a trip to America that quickly loses momentum, and if we are honest then surely the actual Nativity finale goes on a touch too long. But such missteps are easily forgiven given the impact as a whole.

My cinema visiting group at Xmas 2009 consisted of 4 adults and 4 teenagers. As we filed out, there was a mixture of wet eyes and beaming smiles. So yeah! Job done for sure. 8/10

Footnotes: Xmas 2013. With a sequel hitting the theatres this Christmas I thought it time to revisit this film. Delighted to report that it still manages to warm the old cockles of my Xmas heart and remains a seasonal picture that I urge more folk to seek out.

Xmas 2015. Rewatched, still lovely.


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