As a brainless British farce gung-ho on spreading grrrl-power, “St. Trinian’s” asks a lot of you just to see Rupert Everett in drag. Patience, to ride out the whole tedious affair. A simple sense of humor, to find the laughs in cheap fart and dog-humping jokes. And a strong stomach, to endure reputable actors in regrettable roles: Colin Firth, brilliant in “A Single Man” and uncomfortable to watch here, and Everett, pulling double-duty as the unruly school’s headmistress and its new student’s father.
Like the infamous 1954 film on which it’s based, “The Belles of St. Trinian’s,” the crux concerns a group of heinous girls hell-bent on saving their school from shutting down, doing it with true Trinian trickery – swiping a famous painting and selling it on the black market. Oh, how cunning. Too bad the witless flick isn’t even remotely as sharp as their scheme. The laughs sag, characters flat-line and the slapdash script should’ve gone down with the school.
Firth, as the man bringing the institution down and Everett’s former love interest, is one-note – a respectable, even great, actor who shows considerable depth as a gay man in “A Single Man,” but can’t do much with this ditzy dreck. One scene has him investigating the bug-swarmed school, looking disgusted. That look probably says more about his undignified part in this film than the bit itself.
Brit comic Russell Brand, as the schoolgirl’s tool, can’t act, but the MTV tween audience he’ll attract here won’t care. Only Everett, as he completely camps up the part, is amusing as Ms. Fritton – engaging in a goofy fight, smoking a blunt and looking like he’s having a helluva time doing it all. “Don’t you think I make a remarkable queen?” he asks. In old-woman garb, Everett does, but the role’s still rather unremarkable (drag in a British film, how original) – and seeing him star in it feels like a waste. The talented, endearing and very out Englishman, having mostly ditched meaty parts in recent years, deserves better than the broad strokes of “St. Trinian’s.”
And even with Oliver Parker (“The Importance of Being Earnest”) in the director’s chair, the flick feels amateurish with its very slick music-video sensibility and desperate attempts at eliciting laughs: holy crap, that’s a man in a dress! Farting! How funny! The last half especially drags when the school’s bimbos compete during a trivia showdown while the brainiacs try to steal the Vermeer piece; it’s all very “Spy Kids”-meets-“Mean Girls” without any of the smarts, sass or heart of the gay-loved latter. Here’s the worst part, though: There’s a sequel.
‘Glee, Season 1, Vol. 1: Road to Sectionals’
High school sucks, but a show about it doesn’t have to. And with all the guffaws, gayness and feel-good factor of the Golden Globe-d “Glee,” how could it? The fall musical-dramedy drug served up some of the tube’s best moments: the making of a mattress commercial, literally rollin’ to Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary” in wheelchairs and all of anti-Glee-club coach Sue Sylvester’s wicked one-liners. Even the couture-loving queer surprised us, proving that all a football team needs to win is a little Beyonce. With that, the hiatus couldn’t end quick enough, but here’s something to help remedy that emptiness: behind-the-scenes of the dance routines, an interview with out creator Ryan Murphy and fun cast facts. It still hurts, I know.
‘(500) Days of Summer’
Oh, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways: (1) The post-sex musical bit, (2) the dapper style and (3) the dreamy smile. All of it’s on display during this lovable indie about a greeting-card writer and his 500-day relationship with Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel). Charming, hilarious and sensitive (with a sweet soundtrack to boot), it’s all so much like falling in love for the first time – unforgettable. More of the cutie-patootie pops up during the special features: a charming commentary with the director and in the deleted scenes. There’s not enough of them (and never enough of him), but the movie’s special enough on its own.
‘Kathy Griffin: She’ll Cut a Bitch (Uncensored)’
As a comedian known for her lacerating spiels on the Hollywood big-timers, she knows how to bring what she calls the “gay gasp.” And as she relives her Cher run-in during this unfiltered 45-minute routine (which first aired on Bravo), she brings it – reminiscing over meeting her idol in a admittedly bad accent. Bits on Rosie O’Donnell, the Jonas Brothers, Joan Rivers and the Emmys are also included, but it’s impressions of her now-famous, drunken, potty-mouth mom, Maggie, that’s really reason to watch (quotable catchphrase: “tip it!”). Extra razor-sharp wit victimizes Octomom and Sarah Palin on the DVD-exclusive features. And, people, there’s more mom. Cue that gay gasp.
Reach Chris Azzopardi at [email protected]