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NANNY MCPHEE

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As if British nannies weren't ever-present on the small screen, here comes Nanny McPhee. Starring Emma Thompson as the magical taskmaster, McPhee follows the seven motherless Brown children as their father (a charmingly befuddled Colin Firth) tries to hold his unruly brood together. Armed with an enchanted walking stick, McPhee appears suddenly to teach life lessons that may save the family from otherwise certain doom. Written by Thompson and directed by Kirk Jones (Waking Ned Devine), the film adds to a growing list of morbidly humorous fantasies complete with oh-so-clever children and bumbling idiot adults (Lemony Snicket's, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). Yet, with all her hairy warts and one snaggly tooth, McPhee never rises above a one-dimensional sight gag. Kids may laugh and cringe at her first close-up, but five close-ups and a few lame jokes later will find them fidgeting in their seats. (AW)

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