In ‘Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger’ the festive fun continues with more farce and hilarity set around a primary school nativity play.
Mrs Bevans (Pam Ferris), headmistress of St Bernadette’s primary school, is delighted when supply teacher Donald Peterson (David Tennant) takes charge of her excitable tykes and hyperactive classroom assistant Mr Poppy (Marc Wootton).
“If you can work with him until Christmas, I’ll make you headmaster in January,” Mrs Bevans promises Donald.
So Mr Peterson helps Mr Poppy to audition the children for a national choir competition called ‘A Song For Christmas’, hosted by Welsh diva Angel Matthews (Jessica Hynes).
Private school Oakmoor and its snooty teacher, Gordon Shakespeare (Jason Watkins), re-ignite their rivalry with St Bernadette’s by entering the same competition.
Meanwhile, Mr Peterson faces his identical twin brother Roderick (Tennant again), who intends to woo the judges with a faultless performance from his well-rehearsed St Cuthbert’s College boys.
Cast in the same wonky mould as its predecessor, ‘Nativity 2: Danger In The Manger!’ is sweet and frothy as a mug of freshly poured hot chocolate.
The ramshackle plot provides Wootton with plentiful excuses to behave like a maniac, reducing pint-sized co-stars - plucked from open auditions in Coventry - to sniggers.
Tennant has fun as chalk-and-cheese siblings but lacks the charm of Martin Freeman in the first film.
Once again, Debbie Isitt’s sequel relies on the improvisational skills of the actors to create moments of unexpected hilarity.
Plausibility is dismissed entirely during the second half, when a class trip through the rolling hills of Wales descends into farce and contrivance.
A two-disc set comprising the original film Nativity! and the sequel is also available.
Nativity 2: Danger In The Manger! (Cert U, 105 mins, Entertainment One, Family/Comedy/Romance, also available to buy DVD £15.99/Two-Disc DVD Box Set £19.99/Blu-ray £19.99)
Starring: David Tennant, Marc Wootton, Jason Watkins, Jessica Hynes, Pam Ferris, Joanna Page, Ian McNeice.
Also out this week are: ‘The Wolverine’, ‘Stuck in Love’, ‘Hardy Bucks’ and ‘Dexter: Season Eight’.