Wednesday, December 16, 2009

ST TRINIAN'S 2: THE LEGEND OF FRITTON'S GOLD - too few genuine laughs

I rather liked the 2007 St Trinian's remake. It was cheeky, rather fun, but in a rather charmingly lo-rent way. Rupert Everett dressing up in drag to play Camilla Fritton, headmistress of the most anarchic school in England, was a fun antidote to all those airbrushed teen-rom-com flicks starring Amanda Bynes and Emma Roberts. I liked the visual humour and Colin Firth sending up his Mr Darcy image.

So it was with some anticipation that I watched the sequel, ST TRINIAN'S 2: THE LEGEND OF FRITTON'S GOLD. The story is rather clever in that it build's on St Trinian's anarcho-feminism. It turns out that an ancestor of headmistress Camilla Fritton (Everett) and new head girl Anabelle Fritton (Talulah Riley) was a swashbuckling pirate who hijacked gold from Lord Pomfrey - an anti-feminist who was going to use the loot to dethrone Elizabeth I. In the present day, Piers Pomfrey (David Tennant) is trying to steal the treasure back. The girls have to follow clues to London, find the gold and defeat the scoundrelous enemy, with the help of old head girl (Gemma Arterton) and Camilla's love-interest Geoffrey Thwaites (Colin Firth).

The film succeeds in some of the same ways as the original. There is a lot of visual humour around the production design of the school, and a certain lo-rent charm to the way it's been put together. Unfortunately, it does not have the verbal wit of the original. Indeed, there are very few genuinely laugh-out loud moments. The film misses Gemma Arterton in a starring role, and didn't really use Girls Aloud's Sarah Harding in a sensible manner. I know that most of the actresses are passed their school days, but Sarah Harding strains credibility as a current school girl - surely she would have been better used as a returning old head girl? In general, I feel the film might have benefited from spending more time at school, generating humour from the absurdities of a St Trinian's education, and less time chasing for gold in London. Ultimately, it just doesn't work.


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