Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Movie Log: St. Trinian's

I've never seen the '50s movies that St. Trinian's is a loose remake of -- or even seen the Ronald Searle cartoons that the movies adapted -- but I did just see the new movie, which is impressively British, frivolous, and silly in almost equal degrees.

It's a "those horrible kids" movie -- one from the large subsector that realizes that we all really prefer the bad kids -- set in the worst girls' public (that is, private) school in Britain. For some reason, the new Education Minister (Colin Firth) is concerned about this school -- I'm not sure whether this indicates artistic license or a vast difference in government responsibilities between the US and UK -- and wants to make it an object lesson of his new tough policies by shutting down St. Trinian's. That's plot #1.

Plot #2 is equally as hoary: the school is deeply in debt, and will be sold to be a boutique hotel unless the headmistress (Rupert Everett in drag) can raise a vast sum of money very quickly. The girls, of course, hatch A Plan, which is deeply complicated and requires all of the odd skills of every girl with a speaking part.

And Plot #3, which is the one that gets started first, is even older: we follow The New Girl (who is, at least to begin with, also The Good Girl) Annabelle (Tallulah Riley), as she is dropped off by her father, the Headmistress's ne'er-do-well brother (also Everett) and is then tormented by the various cliques of St. Trinian's girls, allowing the viewer to learn their cliched styles...but also making the view dislike those girls, in what may be St. Trinian's only real misstep. (Of course, I say that as an American who went to state schools and was never hazed -- perhaps the British public takes a rosier view of such antics.)

St. Trinian's rolls on from those premises in exactly the ways you'd expect, but it never takes itself seriously. (Or anything else, for that matter.) It's also another one of those movies absolutely stuffed with British actresses (and a handful of actors; this really is a movie about women...well, girls) that are familiar from other things, all of whom seem to be having a great time. Most importantly, it's very funny nearly all of the time. It also has absolutely no redeeming value whatsoever, particularly as it got me looking far too lustfully at women that are vastly too young for me. I'm greatly looking forward to the sequel, which hit the UK for Christmas, but hasn't made its way across the pond yet.
Listening to: Blaggards - Drunken Sailor
via FoxyTunes

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