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St Trinian's


Stars: Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Gemma Arterton, Russell Brand, Lena Headey, Jodie Whittaker, Mischa Barton, Stephen Fry, Lily Cole, Celia Imrie, Amara Karan, Anna Chancellor, Juno Temple, Lucy Punch, Toby Jones

Director: Oliver Parker, Barnaby Thompson

Not so jolly hockey sticks. You'd think it was impossible to dumb down the St Trinian's franchise, but Messrs Parker and Thompson have done it. Joyous anarchy has been replaced by sleaze. And whoever thought frantically-mugging comedian Brand would make a Flash Harry to follow in the footsteps of George Cole deserves a clonk on the conk.

There are, however, a few pluses. The film is well-paced, and less awful than the last of the five original St Trinian's romps, The Wildcats of St Trinian's. And, wisely avoiding trying to follow in the footsteps of the imperishable Alastair Sim, Rupert Everett (apparently channelling the Duchess of Cornwall) is slyly droll as both the headmistress and her rapscallion brother, enjoying some good exchanges with Ministry stuffed shirt Colin Firth, who takes the Mickey out of his Mr Darcy creation as he, commendably but unsuccessfully, tries to close the school down.

The basic plot, which has seen service in such hoary old British school farces as Top of the Form and Good Morning, Boys!, suffers a gender switch as the awful girls of the eponymous school attempt to lift a famous painting and share the ill-gotten gains. Outside of Everett and Firth, the acting is strenuous to a painful degree, and the better supporting players, such as Headey and Jones, will be grateful at having so little to do (or having scenes left on the cutting-room floor).

The lowbrow jokes just about scrape by with a 12A certificate. Under the circumstances, a sequel looks a certainty.

David Quinlan

UK 2007. UK Distributor: Entertainment. Colour.
101 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 0.

Review date: 21 Dec 2007