St. Trinian's Oliver Parker & Barnaby Thompson

St. Trinian's Oliver Parker & Barnaby Thompson
The schoolgirls of St. Trinian's originally appeared in a series of cartoons drawn by Ronald Searle that featured a dark humour in a similar vein to The Addams Family cartoons — they were invariably armed, drunk and doing something illegal. Their initial transition to the big screen back in the '50s was a little bit tamer but like many of the other British comedies being made at that time, it had the right balance of charm and anarchic mayhem. Jump forward 50 years and the franchise has been revived (for the third time, actually) with mixed results. The story is pretty much the same as the original, albeit with a few updated elements. St. Trinian's school is facing bankruptcy and in order to overcome the attempts to shut it down by the bank and the government, the students decide to organise a heist to steal the famous "Girl With A Pearl Earring" painting from the National Gallery to pay off the bills. Add a couple of subplots about a new girl arriving at the school, struggling to fit in and a government minister's humiliation at the hands of his old flame (the school's headmistress) and it's clear this isn't going to win any awards for Best Screenplay. Nevertheless, the cast throw themselves into every scene with enthusiasm. In keeping with tradition, the school's headmistress is played by a man in drag, with Rupert Everett tackling the role with great aplomb, although his resemblance to Camilla Parker-Bowles is a little alarming. Even Russell Brand, Colin Firth and Stephen Fry, who must have better things to do, seem entertained by it all. It doesn't quite reach the heady heights of innuendo of the Carry On films but there are more than enough double-entendres and the inevitable sexy schoolgirls to keep this from being the children's movie it really should be. At the end of the day, St. Trinian's is a harmless romp that stays truer to the original series of films than expected and is more enjoyable than it has any right to be. The extras are the usual type of thing: deleted scenes that should have stayed on the cutting room floor, bloopers of cast members laughing at the wrong time and a music video by Girls Aloud. (Alliance)