Nanny McPhee is a fun movie. Nanny McPhee is a predictable movie. Nanny McPhee is a fairytale. Fairy tales ought to be predictable to a certain extent and unlike the fairytales of recent vintage (e.g.: Shrek) this fairytale emphasizes manners and etiquette while at the same time eschewing the tendency of some to overdo the same.
A fairytale should not be complicated, it should not be hard to follow, and it should not be subtle: A fairytale is after all for children and Nanny McPhee recognizes its target audience and is written appropriately. Emma Thompson plays the mysterious Nanny McPhee who shows up virtually on the eve of the families impending dissolution at the hands of Great Aunt Adelaide played superbly over the top by the magnificent Angela Lansbury. The children of the Brown household are running amok as their father pines away after his deceased wife and struggles with the command of Aunt Adelaide that he must remarry or lose his monthly pension from her. Mr. Brown (Colin Firth) is the prototypical parent of 21st century North America completely unable to discipline or say no to his children.
This is a broad comedy painted in bright colours, simple pranks and white lies. There is charm to spare in this movie and even the ridiculous penultimate slapstick before the resolution of the movie cannot detract from the fact that this is a wonderful family entertainment. Nanny McPhee is a must see.