Couch Potato Pickings | Nativity! Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without singing kids

Nativity, Marc Wootton

Kids singing. Now really, is it a pleasant sound?

I’m sure loads of you think the high-pitched squeaking of children is adorable, but if it’s that great then why are there so few infant singers making their fortunes in the music industry?

The fact is, being small, kids naturally produce high-pitched and shrill noises, and these are not easy on the ear. However, during the festive season, maybe because so many people believe that ‘Christmas is for children’, kiddy choirs are dragged out with the decorations to complete the sparkling, glittering, singing, dancing, all bells-a-ringing Christmas package.

I’ll let you into a secret – every year Sofa Spud and I watch those Top Christmas Songs shows on the music channels to get ourselves into the festive spirit. Now, at least 80% of these songs are dreadful. Without the glittery, sparkly, fake snowscape videos and the jingly jangly bells-a-ringing arrangements, these tracks would have faded into obscurity by now. We’d certainly not give them the time of day. What I’m trying to say is that most of us are seduced by the sparkle at this time of year.

And that’s why Nativity! – a comedy film about a musical children’s nativity play, believe it or not – works.

It’s packed full of children singing in their characteristically shrill way (if, like me, you have little tolerance for such sounds, you may want to keep the clickaroo to hand).

In a Coventry primary school, disillusioned teacher Mr Maddens (Martin Freeman) is forced to produce the school’s nativity play. He is not happy about it as he hates the whole festive period thing, having been dumped at Christmas by the love of his life.

Things get even more messy when Maddens tells a little white lie to his rival about his play being filmed by Hollywood. It’s a lie that his loose cannon of a classroom assistant (Marc Wootton) overhears and shares with everyone.

Cue corporate sponsorships, massive press interest, loads of very excitable children, and a timebomb of a problem for Maddens to resolve.

Nativity, MartinFreeman

This movie is totally unbelievable, very over-the-top, and very contrived – and yes, of course Maddens finds love again in time for Christmas.

Also, Nativity! is not as funny as you’d expect considering it’s packed with some favourite British comedy stars – Martin Freeman (The Office), Ashley Jensen (Extras, Ugly Betty), Marc Wootton (Confetti), Pam Ferris (The Darling Buds of May), Ricky Tomlinson (The Royle Family) and stand-up comic Alan Carr.

Nativity, Martin Freeman, Alan Carr

But, this is a Christmas film. It’s got the sparkle. It’s suitably over the top and, while the singing is bad, the songs are really rather catchy.

So, somehow, you can forgive all its faults and enjoy this film simply because it’s festive. Like those dreadful Christmas hits from times of yore, it’s one that I envisage myself groaning at every year as I write the cards, wrap the presents and help myself to another sherry and mince pie.

Nativity! is currently available on Blu-ray & DVD and on Sky Box Office & Filmflex.

Are you ready for the festive season? Come back on the 1st December to check out our Movie Talk advent calendar…

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