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Under the Radar DVD of the Week: 'Danger in the Manger'

Dennis King Published: November 18, 2013
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This week, the oddest DVD to appear on release lists is:

“Danger in the Manger”

Move over Thanksgiving, it’s time to go straight into an onslaught of Christmas movies on the video shelves, and this week a quirky British comedy of school yuletide pageants and harried teachers takes the spotlight with “Danger in the Manger” (due out on DVD Tuesday).

Originally titled “Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger,” this 2012 British production follows up on a popular (or given its penchant for scatological gags, one could say poopular) 2009 kidcentric holiday picture that starred Martin Freeman as a put-upon teacher charged with producing the annual nativity play at St. Bernadette’s Primary School.

Now, with Freeman off wandering Middle-earth for “The Hobbit” film trilogy, former Dr. Who David Tennant takes the role of an anxious new teacher charged with accompanying his rowdy class on a pilgrimage to visit the “Christmas Castle” and to compete in an “X-Factor”-style holiday singing competition.

Of course, it’s a road trip fraught with pratfalls, wild detours and comic disasters – not to mention flying donkeys. Much of the action here is improvised by a cast composed of veteran comic actors (among them, Marc Wootton as the eccentric Mr. Poppy and Tennant in a duel role as teacher and evil brother) and a host of cute, amateur kid actors.

Written and directed by Debbie Isitt (who performed the same tasks in “Nativity!”), this film is strictly kids’ stuff, making no effort to slip any adult subtext into the silly hijinks. The result is a giggle-worthy hodgepodge of adventure, cute musical and heartwarming (if a bit force-fed) Christmas sentiment.

“Danger in the Manger” is not rated and runs 110 minutes. It’s being released by Inception Media Group.

- Dennis King