In the 1950’s teenage rebel films became the rage. American cinema made idols of actors portraying troubled teens, increasing their popularity. The
St Trinian films became England’s answer to the genre, filled with anti-authoritarian adolescents. With its roots firmly based in Ealing comedy, the series became an adored cult spanning five films. The naughty schoolgirls return for another outing, with the new millennium failing to curb their wicked games.
St Trinian’s is the most notorious all girls school in England known for anarchy than academia. New student Annabelle finds it’s a reputation well deserved. Whilst adjusting to the various carry on, she becomes involved in a mission to save it from threatened closure. Education minister Geoffrey Thwaites (Colin Firth) aims to end its unruly run much to the chagrin of headmistress Miss Camilla Fritton (Rupert Everett). The resulting adventure shows that its decrepit halls still maintain a mischievous influence over its delinquent daughters.
Based on a cartoon, the original films had a quirky charm appealing to all ages. St Trinian’s maintains this whilst thankfully ignoring crude American humour spoiling most current teen comedies. It has a resolutely British style giving it an extra comedic gloss despite some modern trappings. The various plot strands involving overdue tax bills and stolen paintings are cleverly interwoven with characters you actually care about. The sometimes sluggish pacing defeats some of the actor’s efforts with things picking up considerably once the main story kicks in.
Rupert Everett gives a deliciously camp performance as Camilla and her brother. Playing up the pantomime aspects, Everett injects his upper crust dame with an unusual amount of pathos. Very becoming in a dress his role is a wonderful tribute to Alastair Sim who played it previously. The assorted weird characters are well realised by Colin Firth, Gemma Arterton et al, infusing plenty of humanity in the broad comedy. Less spontaneous than it should perhaps be, the film at least has the necessary abundance of infectious energy and enthusiasm needed.
St Trinian’s may not be hilarious but it has a consistency of humour to see it through. The small stories and action are mixed together well making for an amusing diversion. With films charting teenage rebellion for over fifty years, St Trinian’s shows that lipstick rebels can be equally dangerous as their male counterparts.
Rating out of 10: 6
Sometimes Australian actors deserve sympathy. Forced to find roles in the scraps of the film industry they usually end up with crumbs. Saddled with duds their true acting skills come to the fore during the film’s publicity tour. Such is the case with ‘Blueburger’ featuring confused thespians fighting against a muddled screenplay. Mostly shot in South Australia, the film does the state or its characters no favours.
Esther Blueburger (Danielle Catanzariti) is a Jewish teen bored with her private school. An abnormal girl in a staid world, she longs to break free. Meeting public school girl Sunni (Keisha Castle-Hughes) changes things. The cool Sunni takes Esther under her wing showing that conformity should never be accepted. Her dysfunctional family notice Esther’s developing changes creating a whirlwind transforming her life.
Eccentricity is something that comes naturally rather than being forced. The clumsy script delivers strange situations with unsubtle heavy handiness mixing jokes involving animals, religion, sex and nationality. The already scrambled weak narrative is further undermined by stereotypical depictions of glass wearing nerds and cool chicks with earrings exposing the film’s self awareness. A recent comment referred to the lack of funds aimed at ensuring Australian scripts were up to scratch. ‘Blueburger’ is a classic case of a rushed film not knowing who to aim for combined with adult humour sitting uncomfortably with adolescent antics.
The actors do what they can with the shoddy material. Danielle Catanzariti has the crucial quirkiness needed although her uneven acting reflects on the overall film. Toni Collette appears briefly as Sunni’s mother wisely departing before the inexplicably ridiculous conclusion. The location shooting is interesting with the wilds of Hindley Street looking grungier than usual. The comedy never works as the drama dilutes any gains made hurting the disintegrating proceedings around the halfway mark.
Most local critics always like to support home grown product however it’s difficult in this case. The jumbled screenplay never flies sinking the performances after the first reel. The cultural cringe may be alive and well in this country but by any measure ‘Blueburger’ is an absolute shocker.
Rating out of 10: 2