St Trinian’s done to a T

Trips to the cinema usually involve something of a binge for me, what with a GBP7.00 return bus fare for me alone on top of admission – economics that always make it cheaper to wait for the DVD. The result is that when I go, especially with Jimjams, we try to fit in as much as possible.

This time, rather than fit in shopping, lunch and a film, we went for the two-film marathon, fuelled only by breakfast, popcorn and a large beaker of sugary fizz. Enchanted (Disney) and St Trinians (Ealing Studios) were the targets, as Enchanted had a late morning slot and St T’s an early afternoon slot, allowing us to stumble out of one and into the other. (We steered clear of The Golden Compost, based on the recommendations of evilscheesescientist.) The plan was to try to snatch lunch in-between, but in the end with just 10 minutes between end and start times, we had to make do with cinema snacks. Headaches and moaning from one daughter, however, did result.

Enchanted has been plugged to death on the Disney channel and looks superficially interesting, if not just for its softly irreverent mocking of the whole Disney fairytale thing. However, the excerpts on the Disney channel spoil the whole movie, revealing most of the obvious jokes, and making the actual viewing a rather inert experience. Technically, I loved the idea of fairy tale becoming reality, and this saves the movie, though it will never be a favourite until I have forgotten it for two or three years. I cannot second the marks of 8 out of 10 it gets on imdb.com – nearer 6 for me.

St Trinian’s, however, more than lives up to expectations. I have always loved Ronald Searle’s anarchic schoolgirls, and the films from the 1950s and 1960s. This 2007 production is a welcome update which, while as empty of deep plot as its predecessors, lives up to their riotous antics and updates them to suit a modern context. Russell Brand is an inspired choice as Flash Harry, and there’s comic value to be found in having Colin Firth played off against numerous Pride & Prejudice jokes.

The film is undeniably straightforward and obvious in its approach (it is based on the original Belles of St Trinian’s), but lives up to its heritage with pride. St Trinian’s movies work on the simple premise of schoolgirls behaving badly and no one should expect much more. It often had me both in stitches and in tears. Worth an 8 out of 10 from me any day.

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