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  • Film
  • 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.
Written by David Jenkins

Release Details

  • Rated:U
  • Release date:Friday 27 November 2009
  • Duration:106 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Debbie Isitt
  • Screenwriter:Debbie Isitt
  • Cast:
    • Ashley Jensen
    • Martin Freeman
    • Pam Ferris
    • Alan Carr
    • Marc Wootton
    • John Sessions
    • Rhydian Jones
    • Ricky Tomlinson
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