NANNY MCPHEE AND THE BIG BANG (U): On General Release Friday 26th March
Kids will be going crazy for the return of the snaggle-toothed supernanny but this sequal fails to deliver the big bang it promises.
With her husband fighting in the Second World War, Isabel (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is left alone with three kids to look after, a farm to keep afloat and a job to hold down. Her problems are worsened with the arrival of her snobby neice and nephew from London, sent from the city to avoid the bombs falling there. Isabel’s brother-in-law Phil (Rhys Ifans) is adding to her woes, pushing her to sign away her share of the farm.
Just when it’s all getting too much for the scatty mum, in comes Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson) – ‘sent from the war office’ to get the children in line. With her five special rules she puts a stamp on the hectic household with some help from her magic stick and burping sidekick, Edelweiss the crow.
What could be a madcap caper turns out to be a pedestrian plod through whimsy and young children might find it a little slow and soggy.
From the off it feels like a episode of Larkrise To Candleford – there isn’t much to gawp or gasp at. Apart from a man falling in a pond, there’s not a whole lot in the first half for anyone to find funny.
Parts of the plot are a little complex and young ones might struggle to grasp what’s going on. It’s pretty confusing for adults too. Uncle Phil (who is more fool than fiend) wants the family to default on their tractor rental payments so that they can’t bring in the harvest, meaning they can’t afford to keep the farm (which is half his but he needs Isabel’s agreement before it can be sold). Fine for an insignificant sub-story but his motives are the whole drive of the film.
The synchronised swimming pigs have proved the talking point and are plastered over the billboards advertising the film. However, this short flurry of CGI is over in a flash and isn’t that entertaining – those hippos on the BBC One idents have been doing a better job for years.
There are unnecessary cameos from big names including Ewan McGregor (who barely utters a line in his minute on screen) Ralph Fiennes (who isn’t that bad) and Katy Brand (who isn’t that good). Bill Bailey’s appearance is well worth it though and he provides most of the humour in a film lacking in laughs.
It’s got its charm but will probably please nostalgic parents more then their action-seeking little ones.