Found myself liking the first 'Nativity' film for what it was, it wasn't exactly great but it achieved the goal at setting out what it wanted to do and not trying to do much than needed. Many are critical of the second film, personally found it watchable if unexceptional. The third film was a mess, so expectations were not high watching 'Nativity Rocks', out of curiosity, and did question its necessity.
'Nativity Rocks' turned to be even worse and even more sorry than the previous film, as far as 2018 films go for me this is easily down there with the worst (excluding the output of SyFy and The Asylum for a moment). Said for that film that the second film was a masterpiece compared to it, regardless of its faults, 'Nativity Rocks' manages the dubious and seemingly impossible distinction of making the third film look good. Mentioned me questioning its necessity before watching, still feel that another film was really not needed and there was a sense that not much effort was made here.
There is only one good thing in 'Nativity Rocks' and that is the cheerful soundtrack. The one thing that has any cheerfulness in sight.
However, the children are nowhere near as natural and tend to mug, Simon Lipkin is annoying and talented actors like Celia Imrie and Anna Chancellor are wasted with far too little to do. 'Strictly Come Dancing's' Craig Revel Horwood is another story, his performance having more ham than a big gammon dinner and making wildly over-acted villains in local pantomimes more subtle in comparison. None of the characters engage, with not much personality for some and others being irritating.
In terms of the story, 'Nativity Rocks' is all over the place, endlessly predictable, ridiculous and contrived with erratic pacing (leaning towards being too padded) in the too infrequent instances of any glimpses of a story being in sight. No personality in the direction and it is surprising that 'Nativity Rocks' was released in cinemas when it has such a straight to video/DVD look.
Biggest problem is the script. There is nothing natural about the improvisatory nature of some of it. The jokes are puerile and juvenile even by younger viewer standards, there is very little to interest adults and some of the schmaltz gets too much. No heart, warmth or charm here, much of it is bland, mean-spirited and childish.
Altogether, very poor film and doesn't rock in any way. 1/10 Bethany Cox