Saturday movie review: 'Nativity!' (redux)

Dear readers: About this time last year I reviewed the comedic Christmas film NATIVITY!, which upon my first viewing of it in 2011, it became a fast favorite of mine. I think it's truly a must-see holiday family film, so I'm sharing a second serving of my review from last year, which I then titled Saturday movie review: Obscure, must-see Christmas film edition. Enjoy!

So you've gone through the classic (and not so classic) Christmas movies. You've watched it all, from White Christmas to Polar Express, A Christmas Carol from various years to A Christmas Story for sure, on to The Grinch, Love, Actually, While You Were Sleeping and possibly even Joyeux Noel, too (those last three being faves of mine). Yet you're still craving more festive film fun.

Well, my friends, have you seen NATIVITY!?


No, not that nativity. This NATIVITY! — which, if you've followed Grandma's Briefs awhile you've surely read my mentions of it before — is a charming 2009 British comedy about primary school teacher Paul Maddens (Martin Freeman of Bilbo Baggins fame and more) who reluctantly takes on producing the annual school nativity play with a gaggle of untalented students. He's also reluctantly taken on the most unlikely and seemingly incapable assistant for the production, a goofball named Mr. Poppy (Marc Wootton).

Things get really wacky when Paul — in an attempt to outshine his nemesis producing a sure-bet nativity performance at a nearby rival school — inadvertently and untruthfully lets on to the townsfolk that Hollywood will be in attendance for the performance he and Mr. Poppy are presenting, with thoughts of turning their show into a film.


What I love about this movie: It's fresh. It's original. It's funny. It's safe for all ages (if you don't mind letting the kids see some rude behavior now and again from the children competing for prime spots in the nativity play). And amidst the holiday humor is a heavy dose of heart and touching moments that underscore what Christmas — and friendships — are all about.

Plus, the songs are fresh and original, not the typical season fare that's become stale from being featured in holiday film after holiday film. The final performances will have you singing long after the closing credits.

If I were to choose any holiday film to be a part of, this is the one I'd choose — in hopes of playing the part of an audience member enjoying the delightfully heartwarming (and hilarious) productions.

NATIVITY! (rated PG) is out on DVD and available through Netflix streaming.

Today's question:

What is your all-time favorite, must-see holiday film?