A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Yes, the girls band together to keep their school from closing, but they all engage in preposterously inappropriate behavior -- like selling black-market vodka and brainstorming criminal acts like credit card fraud, robbery, kindapping, etc. It's obviously for laughs, but it's fairly consequence-free negative behavior nonetheless.
Positive Role Models
There aren't many positive role models in the movie, considering that the girls engage in illegal schemes and the teachers spend most of their time drunk or not paying attention to the girls, who pretty much do whatever they want at the school. In one sequence, the girls initiate a new student by videotaping her in the shower and uploading the video to the Web.
Violence & Scariness
At the "worst school in Britain," girls are held by their ankles over stair rails, dragged around by farm equipment, etc. The younger girls make bombs for an elaborate heist that the students have concocted to steal a Vermeer painting. The phys ed skills include target shooting with semi-automatic weapons.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The school's "Posh Toddy" clique is overtly sexually aggressive, with the girls walking around in skimpy lingerie. The headmistress and the minister kiss and make love -- it's not graphic, but you do see his naked rear end.
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Mostly insults (some are British slang) like "silly cow," "whore," "shut up," "bloody hell," "toddy," and "Pikey."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
All the teachers drink cocktails every day, and a couple are especially drunk. The first years (11-year-olds) run a black market vodka distillery out of the school.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this British boarding-school comedy will probably appeal most to teens who enjoy quirky and/or independent films -- though they won't find any positive role models or messages here. Although it's all played for laughs, the students engage in inappropriate behavior like selling black-market goods (including vodka) and coming up with illegal ways to save their school from ruin. There's also some salty language (though "hell" and "whore" are probably the worst of it), moderate sexuality (girls walk around in lingerie, and there's a brief glimpse of an adult man's naked bum), and a fair amount of drinking among the faculty. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
A huge hit in the UK, St. Trinian's comedy translates fairly well across the pond, but a familiarity with British teens and colloquialisms helps. Of the girls, the clear stand out is Head Girl Kelly (Gemma Arterton, who played Strawberry Fields in The Quantum of Solace and is clearly headed for leading roles. But the movie is considerably bolstered by the supporting players (Everett, Firth, Russell Brand, and Stephen Fry) and a memorable soundtrack dominated by Lily Allen.
The movie includes several inside jokes -- the best being the many references to Pride and Prejudice, which features Firth walking across a field wearing a sopping-wet white shirt. Everett's Camilla is an obvious but amusing dig at Prince Charles' wife, and Brand's Flash, a petty criminal who instructs the girls in the criminal arts, is, as always, creepily charming. U.S. teens may not get all of the English jokes, but it's always fun to see underdog misfits triumph.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.