Some out-of-work A-list British actors end up at Hogwarts. Others must settle for St. Trinian’s. Not that working in Oliver Parker & Barnaby Thompson’s 2007 crude reinvention of the 1954 Ealing comedy The Belles of St. Trinian’s is such a bad thing.
Rupert Everett looks to be having a good time in a double role as Camilla Fritton, the loopy headmistress of the anarchic Addams Family–like girls school, and Carnaby, her Rolls-driving black-sheep brother. The school faces threats both from bill collectors and from Geoffrey Thwaites (Colin Firth, showing a knack for pratfalls and comic timing), the hard-line Minister of Education and Camilla’s unlikely former flame.
So the girls organize and turn their criminal talents to a big heist. St. Trinian’s is a painless onslaught of dumb gags, gratuitous cheesecake, random movie allusions, and general nonsense, but the classy cast (which includes Gemma Arterton, Toby Jones, and Stephen Fry) helps earn it a passing grade.