Film, Comedy
1 out of 5 stars
Photograph: BBC Films/Entertainment One

Time Out says

1 out of 5 stars
Here is a list of things that sprang to mind while watching Debbie Isitt’s festive putting-on-a-show ordeal, in which Martin Freeman (below) stars as a cantankerous primary school teacher battling to stage a nativity play with the help of an infantilised tramp called Mr Poppy (Marc Wootton): bad Comic Relief sketches; pushy parents desperate to exploit the fact that their child can do a handstand; film posters that depict a man shrugging while surrounded by screaming children (cf ‘Daddy Day Care’, ‘Cheaper by the Dozen’ and any other crèche-com you can think of); ‘The Vicar of Dibley’; garden fêtes; seasonal Asda adverts; Michael Barrymore’s ‘My Kind of People’; a slow week on ‘X Factor’; the myth of Middle English quaintness; the bad ‘Carry On’ films; CBeebies if Ronnie Corbett was artistic director; filmmaking by committee, if that committee were made up of the esteemed members of Coventry City Council and chaired by Lenny Henry; a large-scale cloning experiment involving the kid from ‘Jerry Maguire’; films for people who don’t like films; community theatre with delusions of grandeur; Butlins during low season; a future dystopia where Simon Cowell  rules by showbiz decree; anything that Cilla Black has been involved in after her music career; tuck shops; life-insurance ads fronted by Frank Windsor; a Radio Times Xmas double issue cover circa 1988; ‘It’s a Royal Knockout’; the dank smell of village halls; the dressing-up box of a gone-to-seed hospice; John Shuttleworth sans the irony; a tartrazine-spiked reservoir; spending the entire festive season stranded at Heston Services.

By: David Jenkins



Release details

Release date:
Friday November 27 2009
106 mins

Cast and crew

Debbie Isitt
Debbie Isitt
Ashley Jensen
Martin Freeman
Pam Ferris
Alan Carr
Marc Wootton
John Sessions
Rhydian Jones
Ricky Tomlinson
You may also like