NATIVITY! is a low-rent, shamelessly schmaltzy family film directed by Debbie Isitt, of whose previous film, CONFETTI, I wrote "it may be 'sweet' on occasion, but it fails in its central mission to make us laugh". I could say exactly the same thing about NATIVITY! It's a poorly written film that hangs upon a ludicrous premise: loser primary school teacher (Martin Freeman) tells a white lie that his Hollywood producer ex (Ashley Jensen) is coming back to town to see the school nativity play. The "town" of Coventry gets wind of this and the hype grows so large that the hapless teacher is forced to fly to LA to persuade his ex gf to really show up, before an all-singing, all-dancing, cutesy finale. The acting is as notable as one might imagine given the absurd script, with the exception of a rather bizarre performance from Marc Wootton as a teaching assistant. Production values are similarly lo-fi. Directorial choices are ham-fisted. Why go to the trouble of setting up a visual gag wherein a whole street of houses is decked out in Christmas lights with the exception of the house of the grinch-like school-teacher, if not to pull back and actually show the whole street? And so it goes on. Basically, this film is rather mechanical, poorly-made, and utterly forgettable. The only redeeming feature is the final segment in which we see the kids put on the actual nativity play. After all, it takes a really mean critic to actively decry the efforts of a bunch of six-year olds giving it all they've got.
NATIVITY! is on release in the UK.