Generally this reviewer is disappointed in sequels but Nanny McPhee Returns was very pleasant and it was nice to see adults as well as kids laughing out loud at the theatre.
The original Nanny McPhee in 2005 was good too, but then Emma Thompson, who writes the McPhee scripts and plays the title character, is a very talented lady.
You can’t have a McPhee film without badly behaving children. There are three children belonging to a harried mom, nicely played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, on a farm during the Second World War in England. They are joined by two upper class, snooty cousins from London and they don’t get along.
Lots of poop and flatulence jokes as the kids brawl with each other amid piles of manure. At one point Maggie Smith, playing a daffy elder, sits in a cow patty and declares it very comfortable. Rhys Ifans plays Gyllenhaal’s ne’er do well brother-in-law, trying to sell the farm out from under them.
Nanny arrives, complete with ugly warts and bad teeth, and soon sorts out everything with her magic staff. She describes her role nicely. “When you need me, but don’t want me, I’ll stay. When you want me, but no longer need me, I’ll go.” So you already know how the film will end.
The tone isn’t consistent, going from serious to silly and it doesn’t always work. However, the scenes where the pigs engage in synchronized swimming or fly, or when statues come to life, are amusing.
Rating: four deer of five
Next Week on Video
Killers is pretty silly stuff but it is a decent summer popcorn movie.