Combustible Celluloid
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With: Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Kelly Macdonald, Celia Imrie, Derek Jacobi, Patrick Barlow, Imelda Staunton, Thomas Sangster, Angela Lansbury
Written by: Emma Thompson, based on the 'Nurse Matilda' books by Christianna Brand
Directed by: Kirk Jones
MPAA Rating: PG for mild thematic elements, some rude humor and brief language
Running Time: 97
Date: 10/21/2005

Nanny McPhee (2006)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Strictly Charming

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

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Emma Thompson follows up her Oscar-winning Sense and Sensibility screenplay with this utterly predictable, yet garishly charming children's tale, adapted from Christianna Brand's "Nurse Matilda" books. The seven Brown children, led by eldest boy Simon (Thomas Sangster), are naughty beyond belief. Their frenzied, widowed father (Colin Firth) has burned through 17 nannies before finding the magical McPhee (Thompson), with her bulbous nose, warts, and protruding tooth. For good measure, there's a wicked auntie (Angela Lansbury), an evil would-be stepmother (Celia Imrie) and a kindly maid (Kelly Macdonald). Director Kirk Jones, whose Waking Ned Devine had a lovely sparkle, here establishes and sustains a dawdling pace, falling back on some cutesy CGI and a cake fight(!), but still draws enthusiastic performances from the makeup-coated stars.

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