Directed by: Kirk Jones
Starring: Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Angela
Lansbury, Kelly MacDonald, Imelda Staunton,
Released by: Universal Pictures
Short: She's got warts, weird teeth, a huge
nose—no pretty "Mary Poppins"
this "Nanny" is every bit as wonderful
as her famous predecessor.
Practically Perfect "Nanny"
Over, Mary Poppins, There's a New Nanny in Town
There are a number
of familiar elements to the wonderful new comedy "Nanny
McPhee." The story of a British family that desperately
needs a nanny has been famously told before, in the classic
"Mary Poppins." This film is also about a nanny
who uses magic, but the similarities end there, as Emma
Thompson's "Nanny McPhee" is no pretty Poppins.
Thompson, who also wrote the screenplay (an adaptation
of the Nurse Matilda books by Christianna Brand),
is almost unrecognizable as the warty, long-toothed battle-ax
of the title.
arrives—mysteriously, of course—just as harried
mortician/widower Cedric Brown (played perfectly by Colin
Firth) has reached the end of his rope. His seven motherless
and out-of-control children have successfully and triumphantly
driven away their seventeenth nanny and all hell has broken
loose inside their shabby Victorian-era home. But the
timely arrival of Nanny McPhee and her magical walking
stick changes all that, in a comic ride towards order
and reason that both adults and children will surely enjoy.
about this movie is amusing; from the wacky, brilliant
and colorful set decorations and costumes to the quick
and clever dialogue. Emma Thompson is wonderful as usual
in the title role and the supporting cast is brilliant,
from the inspired Angela Lansbury as the dowager aunt
who controls the family's purse strings to Imelda Staunton's
beleaguered cook. All seven of the children are excellent,
and Kelly MacDonald gives a lovely performance as the
scullery maid in love with the grieving master of the
house. The jokes come fast and furious, keeping everyone,
both old and young, laughing out loud throughout the course
of the story.
the fact that "Nanny McPhee" is a fairly predictable
fairy tale at heart, the trip to the happy ending is one
that leaves the audience smiling with satisfaction. Even
the film's underlying messages aimed at children who misbehave
are adeptly handled, and are never preachy. Like its famous—but
really very different—predecessor, "Nanny McPhee"
seems destined to become a classic that families return
to again and again.