Movie review: ‘Nanny McPhee Returns’ with more sugar, less bitters
While “Nanny McPhee Returns” is suitably supercalifragilistic, it’s not quite as expialidocious as the original.
This twinkly and slightly twee follow-up to 2005’s “Nanny McPhee” leans far more heavily on high-tech, CGI magic than on the old-fashioned storybook kind that made the first film such a quaint, literate charmer. Under the direction of Susanna White, a veteran British TV director making her big-screen debut, the sequel is more sweetly sentimental and cartoonishly antic than the first.
Again, the film posits itself as an antidote to the syrupy goodness of Mary Poppins. Like Miss Poppins – but with a gnarly turnip nose, a wormlike unibrow, two whiskery facial moles and a rabbity snaggle tooth – Nanny McPhee is a British governess with a touch of magic in her pragmatic child-rearing ways.
But whereas Julie Andrews’ sprightly performance as Miss Poppins was offered up with a heaping spoonful of sugar, Emma Thompson’s sly and slightly menacing portrayal of Nanny McPhee comes with a biting spoonful of bitters.
Thompson, who again penned the screenplay inspired by mystery writer Christianna Brand’s trio of “Nurse Matilda” books, is no slouch when it comes to adapting literary material for the screen. She won an Oscar for her sterling 1995 script of Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility.”
This time around, she moves the action to 1940s rural England, where the overwhelmed Mrs. Green (lovely Maggie Gyllenhaal with a finely honed British accent) struggles to keep the family farm afloat while her husband is away at war. Compounding her troubles are three boisterous children whose rustic country life is upended by the arrival of two snooty, spoiled city cousins evacuated from war-torn London.
Naturally, country cousins and city cousins clash amid the barnyard muck (“Greetings, oh covered-in-poo people,” sneers the Woosterish cousin Cyril upon first seeing his grimy country kin). Soon, the children are engaged in all-out war – slinging poo, soiling clothing, breaking china and generally running amuck.
Message Sent Successfully
Be Sure to Check Out Our Top Headlines
- 36901Oklahoma weather: Crews work to clear storm damage in Oklahoma City as the state braces for severe weather Sunday.
- 36295Oklahoma tornadoes: 'It took it all'
- 32626Oklahoma Severe Storm Updates
- 8549Wild hogs continue to be a growing menace across Oklahoma
- 5487OKC Thunder GM Sam Presti won't amnesty Kendrick Perkins
- 4132Oklahoma City Thunder: What could Serge Ibaka learn from Hakeem Olajuwon?
- 4021Oklahoma State football: Limiting Wes Lunt's transfer options makes Mike Gundy look bad
- 3510College football: Coaches, athletes weigh in on NCAA's suspended recruiting proposals
- 3369George Nigh has long been 'Four' Oklahoma
- 3261Brittney Griner: Kim Mulkey said keep quiet on sexuality
Back to share with a friend form.
Add More Recipients