For those who haven't seen "Nanny McPhee" there is a very easy way to describe it, think "Mary Poppins" but with a touch of the Roald Dahl creativity to it. As such we have a slightly scary Nanny who helps out a family of 7 naughty children whose naughtiness includes making bombs in the kitchen and wiring a door knob to an electric generator. But there is one other thing worth mentioning about "Nanny McPhee" and it's not the stellar British cast, nope the other thing is that this is a movie made for young girls, where little boys are naughty and girls are good and where there is fun and romance. Nothing wrong at all with that and I am sure young girls would lap up all the fun which is "Nanny McPhee" but for any adults who find themselves sitting through it will find it inoffensive but also dull as there is nothing for adults.
Following the death of his wife, Mr. Cedric Brown (Colin Firth - Love Actually) struggles to raise their 7 children especially as his young family make short work of any Nanny he employs to look after them. But that is not his only problem as Aunt Adelaide (Angela Lansbury - Bedknobs and Broomsticks) who has long helped support the family has ordered Cedric to find another wife or she will withdraw her financial assistance. At least thing start to change for the better when the mysterious and magical Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson - Peter's Friends) appears and manages to bring order to his children who fear that if their father remarries they will end up with a wicked stepmother.
Because "Nanny McPhee" so obviously is a movie aimed at young girls it would be fair to say that the storyline will most likely entertain. It has various typical fairytale elements from naughty children, a wicked aunt (well sort of), the quirky cook, a romantic element and of course the magical Nanny. All these elements combine to create a pleasant little story which goes from watching Nanny McPhee tame the unruly children in her own magical way through to them stopping their dad from marrying the wrong woman.
But the thing about the storyline to "Nanny McPhee" is that whilst young children will enjoy it there is nothing for adults who find themselves watching. Yes it's inoffensive and the level of creativity when it comes to the naughty children is amusing but it does end up not only obvious but bordering on the dull. The closest it gets to anything for an adult is Colin Firth standing their in a crisp white shirt doing a bit of a Darcy.
It is a shame that there is nothing for adult audiences because it is imaginative in a Roald Dahl sort of way. Watching the children run riot in the kitchen, pretend to be sick in bed or try and scare Mrs Quickly when she comes for tea are all great scenes. And the way Nanny McPhee slowly changes as she brings the children under control is a nice touch as is the comical vibrancy of the colour scheme from dyed sheep to bright green walls. Basically this is a movie perfect for children which will fire up their imaginations before delivering a quite beautiful romantic ending.
As for the acting well Emma Thompson is the star of the movie and quite amusingly she plays the magical Nanny McPhee with a lovely touch of the sinister. In any other movie she would be a witch with her black clothes, warted face and gnarled cane but here she is basically a contradictory super nanny. And whilst the rest of the cast which includes Colin Firth, Kelly Macdonald, Imelda Staunton, Celia Imrie and Angela Lansbury all do a good job they are all outshone by Thompson. The exception is the various young children lead by Thomas Brodie-Sangster whose comical mischief making often steals a scene.
What this all boils down to is that "Nanny McPhee" is a fun, inoffensive little movie which I am sure pleased it's target audience of young girls. But whilst there is nothing wrong with that the fact it offers nothing for any adult who watches is a negative as it does at times make it a bit of a slog.