St. Trinian’s is referred to as UK’s answer to Mean Girls, but it would appear they ingested acid or some other distorting substance prior to responding.
Abigail is unceremoniously dropped off at St. Trinian’s school for girls by her father (Rupert Everett). Not only does this option get her out of his salt-and-pepper hair, but he also gets the family discount because his sister Camilla Fritton (Rupert Everett) is the head mistress. The cliques that divide the student population include the crime bosses, the phone sex girls and the emo/goth kids. The faculty is indifferent to the outcasts’ actions, only appearing to work when necessary. When the new minister of education (Colin Firth) decides to close the worst performing school in the country, the girls must band together to save their school and their socially unacceptable way of life.
Boarding schools have been the subject of great anarchy and comedic antics, but St. Trinian’s takes the school for girls to a whole new level of bizarre. The shenanigans that take place are so inappropriate for a school setting and, more often than not, impossible that its absurdity can only be embraced or rejected – there is no in between.
The one element in regards to which there can be little movement is Everett’s dual role as a man and woman. He spends most of the film portraying Camilla, which means he spends most of the film being irritating. It seems entirely unnecessary that the head mistress role be played by a man in drag; it could have been much more effective if played by a boisterous woman. The contrast between her and the futile, mousey new teacher could have also been better utilized.
The girls are all adequate as their ridiculous characters, though none really standout. Nevertheless, it is difficult to become engaged with the students or their actions because of the film’s disenchanting portrayal. The inclusion of an animated plan is somewhat amusing but the makeover tunnel is less so.
Finally, after all the build up to the moment that will save the school, the film becomes somewhat enjoyable. It appears the film’s failure may be that all its writers and directors are male. Still, this film is a stylistic step-up from the 1980 adaptation of Ronald Searle’s cartoons and the female-powered soundtrack is a must-have.
The DVD special features include 16 minutes of deleted scenes that are generally short; a five-minute blooper reel; and the music video for the theme song by Girls Aloud.