So, you know how much a fan I am of this whole series from my love of even the third one that everyone is having so much fun finding unique ways to deride… the series as a whole is all about Mr. Poppy - that's the direction they've gone in, and I have no problem with that because society as a whole is so skewed the other way (clearly, from the response to those movies). But, I'll be honest - I appreciated the balance of this one even more this time around. It's entirely more grounded in reality, and that's why it will likely always (even if they make more) be the best in the series.
When I reviewed the third movie I wanted to say how it was so much longer than this and the sequel but I was surprised to find there was only a 5 minute difference - of course, I'd forgotten that this one dedicates nearly a whole half hour to the Nativity itself, and it's a killer move - I wonder if they were aiming for closer to 90 minutes but then realised just how good all that play footage turned out? The thing about this movie is… it delivers everything it promises. That last half hour is truly the greatest Nativity play ever.
Mr. Poppy is the best, clearly - I frequently believe there is no asset more precious than a lack of propriety because it plain wakes people up, and Poppy is the embodiment of that around that most precious of commodities, children. I love reading certain negative reviews of this whole series because they entirely embody exactly why it's such a relief that these films exist - a friend I was watching with said "these kids are so intuitive" …I think all kids are, they're just rarely shown like this.
It's really another of those movies I kind of just want to force people to watch rather than review because it's the only way you'll get the whole impact - the way it moves from shriek-inducing laughter to real gut punching emotion and back again. It really saved my Christmas the first time I saw it a few years ago, and it's become one of my all time favourites. I probably even watch it more often than the similar School of Rock these days.