All that being said, Nanny McPhee Returns was better than I expected. But I didn't expect much. The basic storyline: Isabel (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is a young mother, looking after three children and struggling to keep up the family farm while her husband is at war. It's tough enough making ends meet, and when two spoiled cousins are thrown into the mix, causing all five children start behaving badly, Isabel is pushed to her wits end. Enter Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson) who, using magic, teaches these children five lessons.
Sound like a mix between Mary Poppins and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle? It is. Though I'd recommend reading those books (or watching the Poppins movie) rather than picking up a copy of Nanny McPhee Returns. Though there were moments when the movie had the wonderful feel of a storybook brought to life (similar to the tone of the fabulous show Pushing Daisies), they were fleeting. The acting was fine, but the story just didn't do it for me. And enough with the bodily function jokes already. I know kids love 'em, but kids will laugh at other kinds of jokes, too.
Nanny McPhee Returns gets a 2/5. It wasn't awful, but I won't watch it again, either.