Unless you’re fourteen and female, look away now. There is nothing to see here.
As substantial as bubble bath (and just as likely to give you wrinkles), it’s the tween-friendly tale of obnoxious LA teen-queen Poppy (Roberts, Nancy Drew), sent by her exasperated dad (Aidan Quinn) to a stodgy place of learning deep in the English countryside.
On arriving at St. Trivial's – sorry, Abbey Mount School for Girls – Poppy strops and smart-mouthes her way into everyone’s bad books.
Offended parties include headmistress Mrs Kingsley (Natasha Richardson – the only adult to emerge with dignity intact), tyrannical head girl Harriet (Georgia King), her four dorm-mates, and wee matron Shirley Henderson.
Poppy’s excuse for being a total bee-atch is that her mum died a few years ago. This obviously changes everything.
Suddenly, Poppy is the coolest thing since Facebook – making the lacrosse team unbeatable (Brits being incapable of winning anything without American help) and having her hair dyed brunette by the campest Scottish hairdresser in Yorkshire (Nick Frost).
But with no mobile reception and over half the school having ginger hair, it’s no surprise that Poppy wants out. Yet even with the help of her homegirls – and ‘horridious’ Harriet’s best efforts - getting expelled isn’t all that easy.
So to Plan B, whereupon Poppy sets her sights on Mrs Kingsley’s dishy, out-of-bounds son Freddie (Stormbreaker’s Alex Pettyfer, giving everyone a lesson in woodwork).
As their various schemes unfold, the girls learn all about fair play and friendship and, y’know, mature stuff.
Not that it really matters but it all carries the same weight and credibility as Paris Hilton and where it could have put a well-aimed welly into the Yankee superiority complex, writer Lucy Dahl’s script is much happier to stereotype the golly-heck out of we poor Brits. It’s doubtful that daddy Roald would be impressed.
It will undoubtedly suit many teenage palates, but as Harriet points out: “People can get to love rotting pigs’ vomit if they live with it long enough.” Eeeuw.