Despite her magical properties, Nanny McPhee could not schedule a screening for critics by WW press deadlines.
Based on the movie's trailer
, I was hoping this would be a film about synchronized swimming pigs. Sadly, swimming swines are only a minor plot point—however, Nanny McPhee Returns still manages to delight with its quirky attention to detail.
There is, of course, Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson), whose magic walking stick has the power to make children beat themselves up or to share their beds with livestock and whose ghastly features (moles, unibrow and that crooked protruding tooth) disappear when children learn to cooperate. There's the antagonist, who, similar to the first Nanny McPhee
movie and all too often in real life, turns out to be a family member—in this case, the always intoxicated-looking, unctuous Uncle Phil (Rhys Ifans) who's on the run from two taxidermist hitwomen after his kidneys or the deed to his sister-in-law's (Maggie Gyllenhaal) farm. The children must save their farm—but first they must learn important lessons from their nanny, such as to stop fighting, help each other out and, most importantly, to have faith. In the end, the heroic crow Mr. Edelweiss saves the day with his particular penchant for window putty and ensuing case of the collywobbles. This is a kid's movie, with its fair share of poo jokes, but it spans the generational gap with a classic story line reminiscent of such tales as Mary Poppins
, The Wizard of Oz
and The Sound of Music