Mary Poppins Returns


Mary Poppins Returns  ★★

If a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, then you might consider bringing a fistful of the utensils to Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, since Rob Marshall’s sequel plays like a heaping bottle of bad medicine compared to the infectious pleasures found in 1964’s Mary Poppins. Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place) attempts to pick up the parasol of Julie Andrews in this ill-considered production, and I wouldn’t envy anyone tasked with replacing Andrews, who won an Oscar for playing her signature role. Poppins, a magical nanny who could transform any ordinary task into a fantastic musical adventure, is a whole lot less enchanting in this needless continuation, which picks up a few decades after the original. The Banks children, Michael (Ben Whishaw, the most recent Q in the James Bond series) and Jane (Emily Mortimer of HBO’s The Newsroom), are all grown up, and Michael has children of his own to worry about—Annabel (Pixie Davies), John (Nathanael Saleh and Georgie (newcomer Joel Dawson)—and worry he should, since they’re all about to be evicted from 17 Cherry Tree Lane. Cue the wind, which whisks the old family nanny back into the Banks home, where Poppins quickly bonds with the children, dancing through animated wonderlands while singing remarkably forgettable songs courtesy of Hairspray’s Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman. But then, Marshall has yet to prove himself a capable director of musicals, despite a resume that includes Chicago and Into the Woods(At Assembly RowBoston Common, Fenway, Seaport, South Bay and in the suburbs.)

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