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Based on the 1954 comedy The Belles Of St Trinian's, this new version, simply called St Trinian's, is a 21st century upgrade that's been cynically engineered to milk the lucrative tween audience.

Our guide to the riotous girl's school is new student Annabelle, who has been deposited there by her art-dealer daddy.

First she's victimised by her fellow students, but eventually she's taken under the wing of head wench Kelly.

After a series of skits showing the girls talents for hockey violence and basement bootlegging, a plot finally kicks in that has the girls staging an art theft to save St Trinian's from bankruptcy. And bankrupty – of the creative sort – is what St Trinian's is all about.

This is the sort of desperate film that thinks it's cleverly post-modern having a tiny dog named Darcy repeatedly humping Colin Firth's leg. Firth's not the only respected British actor slumming in this mess.
No matter how hard Rupert Everett tries he doesn't get any mileage out of his dual roles as Annabelle's dad or St Trinian's headmistress. Stephen Fry looks embarrassed and Russell Brand is dull in what should be the fun role of criminal mentor Flash Harry.
Stunt cameos from supermodel Lily Cole and American actress Mischa Barton add nothing. Of the main girls, only Gemma Atherton makes an impression as Kelly. You can see why she's been cast as a Bond girl in the next 007 movie.

But this jailbait angle is the film's other major problem – not content with being moronically unfunny, it's also pretty sleazy. The original St Trinian's lasses were little minxes, but their naughtiness came with an air of innocence. Now the emphasis is on smut, with the camera forever leering, the script packed with innuendo, and some of the girls actually made into phone sex workers.

As a film whose report card reads “Room for nothing but improvement”, St Trinian's rates one star.

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