Nativity Rocks! (U)



Comedy (2018)
100mins UK

Starring: Celia Imrie, Anna Chancellor, Helen George, Daniel Boys, Craig Revel Horwood, Simon Lipkin
Director: Debbie Isitt
Writer(s): Debbie Isitt
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

A Syrian boy called Doru and his father arrive on British shores in search of a better life. The boy is separated from his old man and ends up homeless in Coventry where rosy-cheeked social worker Miss Shelly places him with a foster mother and enrols Doru at St Bernadette's under headmistress Mrs Keen. Doru arrives just as Mr Johnson and his class are warming up for auditions for a rock opera under formidable director Emmanuel Cavendish.

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LondonNet Film Review
Nativity Rocks! (U)

When you hit rock bottom, the only way is up. That's certainly true of writer-director Debbie Issit's series of improvised comedies, which began in 2009 with the rollicking Nativity!, a feel-good treat steeped in festive cheer. The 2012 sequel subtitled Danger In The Manger! was sporadically entertaining but lacked some of the original's charm. "Wonderful things come in three: musketeers, amigos, times a lady..." notes a madcap teaching assistant in Nativity Rocks!, who evidently didn't have to sit through Nativity 3: Dude, Where's My Donkey?, a pre-Christmas turkey which earned the inglorious distinction of being my worst picture of 2014. Thankfully, the fourth instalment is a small step in the right direction, which shamelessly tugs heartstrings and manipulates our emotions by addressing the global refugee crisis alongside the usual Yuletide tomfoolery...

Nativity Rocks!. Copyright: Entertainment One. Caption: Daniel Boys as Mr Johnson and Simon Lipkin as Jerry Poppy in Nativity Rocks!, directed by Debbie Isitt. All Rights Reserved.Marc Wootton has vacated his signature role as deranged teaching assistant Mr Poppy and been replaced by musical theatre star Simon Lipkin as his long-lost brother Jerry. Lipkin's formidable singing talent comes to the fore as the bright-eyed students of St Bernadette's Primary School in Coventry compete for the fictional honour of Christmas Town Of The Year by auditioning for a rock opera.

The film opens on a sombre note with a Syrian boy called Doru (Brian Bartle) and his father (Ramin Karimloo) arriving on these shores in search of a better life. The boy is separated from his old man and ends up homeless in Coventry where rosy-cheeked social worker Miss Shelly (Helen George) places him with a foster mother (Meera Syal) and enrols Doru at St Bernadette's under headmistress Mrs Keen (Celia Imrie). Doru arrives just as Mr Johnson (Daniel Boys) and his class are warming up for auditions under formidable director Emmanuel Cavendish (Craig Revel Horwood), who is an unwelcome face from the past of teaching assistant Jerry Poppy (Lipkin). Jerry takes Doru under his wing and encourages a friendship between the refugee and a wealthy boy called Barnaby (Rupert Turnbull), whose workaholic parents (Anna Chancellor, Hugh Dennis) are too busy to spend the holidays with their lad. Of course, Christmas is a time for miracles and hyperactive man-child Jerry resolves to remind everyone about the importance of family during the festive season with help from a kind-hearted farmer called Beatie (Ruth Jones).

Nativity Rocks! doesn't live up to the promise of its title but there are fleeting moments of amusement drizzled in sugary sentiment. Lipkin fizzes with energy in every frame, even when the film around him is stagnating, while Strictly Come Dancing judge Horwood would be hard pushed to describe his pantomime villain as fab-u-lous. The climactic stage performance to justify Coventry's claim as Christmas Town Of The Year is sweetly shambolic if overlong, reuniting characters with a generous sprinkling of tears.

- Kim Hu

Nativity Rocks!. Copyright: Entertainment One. Caption: Daniel Boys as Mr Johnson and Simon Lipkin as Jerry Poppy in Nativity Rocks!, directed by Debbie Isitt. All Rights Reserved.


London Cinemas

From Friday 11th January
To Thursday 17th January

Not showing at any
London cinemas this week.


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Rest of UK and Irish Cinemas

Listed in alphabetical order by city/place name followed by cinema name.

From Friday 18th January
To Thursday 24th January

- Aberdeen, Vue Aberdeen
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- Altrincham, Vue Altrincham (Apollo)
- Andover, Odeon Andover
- Ashbourne, Vue Ashbourne
- Aylesbury, Odeon Aylesbury
- Ayr, Odeon Ayr
- Banbury, Odeon Banbury
- Barrow-in-Furness, Vue Barrow (Apollo)
- Basingstoke, Odeon Basingstoke
- Basingstoke, Vue Basingstoke Festival Place
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- Belfast, Odeon Belfast
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- Birmingham, Odeon Birmingham Broadway Plaza
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- Bolton, Vue Bolton
- Bootle, Odeon Liverpool Switch Island
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- Bradford, Cineworld Bradford
- Bradford, Odeon Leeds-Bradford
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- Bristol, Odeon Bristol
- Bristol, Vue Bristol Cribbs Causeway
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- Burnley, Reel Cinema Burnley
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- Chippenham, Reel Cinema Chippenham
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- Cromer, Regal Movieplex
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- Hull, Vue Hull Princes Quay
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- Kettering, Odeon Kettering
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- Kilmarnock, Odeon Kilmarnock
- Lancaster, Vue Lancaster
- Leamington Spa, Vue Leamington Spa (Apollo)
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- Leeds, Vue Leeds The Light
- Leicester, Odeon Leicester
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- Limerick, Vue Limerick
- Lincoln, Odeon Lincoln
- Liverpool, Odeon Liverpool ONE
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- Loughborough, Odeon Loughborough
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- Manchester, Odeon Manchester Great Northern
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- Manchester, Vue Manchester Printworks
- Mansfield, Odeon Mansfield
- Merthyr Tydfil, Vue Merthyr Tydfil
- Milton Keynes, Odeon Milton Keynes Stadium
- Morecambe, Reel Cinema Morecambe
- Naas, Odeon Naas
- Newark, Odeon Newark
- Newbridge, Odeon Newbridge
- Newbury, Vue Newbury
- Newcastle-under-Lyme, Vue Newcastle-under-Lyme
- Newport, Cineworld Newport Spytty Road
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- Norwich, Vue Norwich
- Nuneaton, Odeon Nuneaton
- Okehampton, Carlton Cinema
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- Orpington, Odeon Orpington
- Oxford, Odeon Oxford George Street
- Oxford, Vue Oxford
- Paignton, Vue Torbay (Apollo)
- Penzance, Savoy
- Plymouth, Reel Cinema Plymouth
- Plymouth, Vue Plymouth
- Portlaoise, Odeon Portlaoise
- Portsmouth, Odeon Port Solent
- Portsmouth, Vue Portsmouth
- Port Talbot, Reel Cinema Port Talbot
- Preston, Odeon Preston
- Preston, Vue Preston
- Quinton Halesowen, Reel Cinema Quinton Halesowen
- Reading, Vue Reading
- Redditch, Vue Redditch (Apollo)
- Redruth, Regal Film Centre
- Renfrew, Odeon Braehead
- Rhyl, Vue Rhyl (Apollo)
- Rochdale, Odeon Rochdale
- Salford, Vue Manchester Lowry
- Salisbury, Odeon Salisbury
- Scunthorpe, Vue Scunthorpe
- Sheffield, Cineworld Sheffield
- Sheffield, Odeon Sheffield
- Sheffield, Vue Sheffield
- Southampton, Odeon Southampton
- Southend-on-Sea, Odeon Southend
- Southport, Vue Southport
- Stafford, Odeon Luxe Stafford
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- Stirling, Vue Stirling
- St Ives, The Royal
- Stoke-on-Trent, Odeon Stoke
- Stroud, Vue Stroud (Apollo)
- Swadlincote, Odeon Swadlincote
- Swansea, Odeon Swansea
- Swansea, Vue Swansea
- Tamworth, Odeon Tamworth
- Taunton, Odeon Taunton
- Telford, Odeon Telford
- Thanet, Vue Westwood Cross
- Thornton-Cleveleys, Vue Cleveleys
- Torquay, Central Cinema
- Trowbridge, Odeon Trowbridge
- Tunbridge Wells, Odeon Tunbridge Wells
- Wallsend, Odeon Silverlink
- Warrington, Odeon Warrington
- Waterford, Odeon Waterford
- Watford, Vue Watford
- West Bromwich, Odeon West Bromwich
- Weston-super-Mare, Odeon Weston-Super-Mare
- Widnes, Reel Cinema Widnes
- Worcester, Odeon Worcester
- Worcester, Vue Worcester
- Wrexham, Odeon Wrexham
- York, Vue York


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