TOWARDS the conclusion of Marc Forster's fantasy, Winnie-the-Pooh stares adoringly at a grown-up Christopher Robin who has forgotten his childhood spent romping around the Hundred Acre Wood.

"It's always a sunny day when Christopher Robin comes to play," coos the honey-guzzling bear, voiced by Jim Cummings.

Alas, that sunshine doesn't always penetrate the rain clouds that linger over this cinematic namesake, which shamelessly milks our affection for beloved characters created by AA Milne and EH Shepard. Christopher Robin relies heavily on the quirks and naive charm of Pooh and his companions, who are convincingly brought to life through digital trickery.

A briskly paced opening section documents Christopher's formative years by flicking through the pages of a book laden with the bear's mantras for a contented life.

"Doing nothing often leads to the very best of something," philosophises Pooh.

Forster's film does very little and this leads to occasional laughs, teary confessions and a central message about cherishing time spent with loved ones. Yesteryear's Goodbye Christopher Robin focused on the post-traumatic stress endured by Milne when he returned to London from the trenches of the Great War and a fractious relationship with his son.

Christopher Robin skips forward in time to the late 1940s.

The titular father (Ewan McGregor) is a workaholic efficiency manager in the luggage division of Winslow Enterprises. Times are tough and he is ordered to deliver 20 per cent cuts across his team in time for a board presentation on Monday morning.

Christopher cancels a weekend in the country with his neglected wife Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) and young daughter Madeline (Bronte Carmichael) to concentrate on balance sheets.

Magically, Pooh materialises in London and convinces Christopher to return to the Hundred Acre Wood to track down Eeyore, Piglet, Rabbit, Kanga, Roo and Owl.

Christopher Robin shoots for the same sweet nostalgia as Paddington but lacks the heart and soul of that marmalade-smeared adventure.

Gentle laughs punctuate the soul-searching but the picture's ponderous middle section meanders before an emotionally manipulative final act which is signposted as clearly as the fearsome Heffalumps and Woozles.

RATING: 6/10