The primary school capers of Mr Poppy and the pupils of St Bernadette’s have amused us for a few years thanks to the previous two instalments. The original Nativity! came out in 2009, followed in 2013 by Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger!
Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey? released in the UK on 14th November and saw Martin Clunes and Catherine Tate heading up the cast as newcomers, while Marc Wootton reprises his role as madcap Mr Poppy. No surprise either that, it features a donkey.
The plot of Nativity 3 centres on Clunes’ character Mr Shephard, a new teaching arrival at St Bernadette’s who loses his memory and forgets about his fiancée Sophie (Tate) and also his beloved Donkey. Having promised his daughter a new Mummy for Christmas by marrying his fiancée, Mr Poppy and the pupils must help reunite the pair before Christmas.
There is one minor issue. Sophie is in New York City for Christmas. And there’s a new, miserable head mistress at St Bernadette’s to contend with – Mrs Keen, played by the wonderful Celia Imrie (Bridget Jones’ Diary, Dinnerladies, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel).
What’s more, the school enters a flashmob contest along the way,and yes as expected, Archie the Donkey plays a key part. During the contest they will come up against their competitive old foe, Mr Shakespeare, played once again by Jason Watkins.
What we think
Like many Christmas films, you had to go in to the last two Nativity films ready for a bit of slap stick and some comedy for all ages. However, with Nativity 3 you’ll wish you went in under a general anesthetic.
We love a Christmas film, even if the story line isn’t great, the cast is weak and everything is just too cheesy. However, Nativity 3 had the advantage of a fairly strong cast and a writer/producer who is also top drawer. The problem was, every other aspect of the movie was dreadful. Boring, predictable and one of the few Christmas films we’d say to avoid altogether. To qualify this, if it were a one-off movie it probably wouldn’t be so bad, but compared to the first two in the franchise, it cannot compare. The kids will love it though.