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Movie Reviews

Birthday Girl  

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Ben Chaplin, Vincent Cassel, Mathieu Kassovitz
Written by: Jez Butterworth, Tom Butterworth
Directed by: Jez Butterworth

Trailer: Quicktime | Real - Low | High

John Buckingham (Ben Chaplin) is a lonely bank clerk in a small town in England leading a boring uncomplicated life who decides to order a Russian mail order bride in the dark comedy “Birthday Girl”.

After picking up his Russian bride Nadia (Nicole Kidman), he quickly realizes the meaning of misleading advertising claims. Nadia is supposed to speak English but as he tries to talk to her she acts as if she doesn’t understand a word he is saying. He calls to complain to the mail order service he used and can’t get anybody on the line.

The one good surprise he finds out about Nadia is that she is not only beautiful but she is also willing an able to satisfy his weird sexual desires. How does Nadia figure out how to satisfy John in the bedroom? By snooping around his house and finding certain magazines and video tapes. It’s amazing what educational materials one can find around the house.

Even though John’s love life has improved exponentially, the good times are about to take a sharp retreat. The cause of a lot of pain and suffering comes in the form of an unexpected visit to John’s home of Alexei (Vincent Cassel) and Yuri (Mathieu Kassovitz), supposed cousins of Nadia.

They are a bunch of crooks who turn John’s boring routine life upside-down and inside-out in a matter of days after their arrival and Nadia is not an innocent party to this mess.

Alexei and Yuri get John to rob the bank he works for by pretending they will kill Nadia if he doesn’t. From there on everybody is on the run.

The ultimate question in this film is will love find a way to put John and Nadia back together again?

If you are thinking this is a quirky amusing film full of odd characters and interesting situations then you have got it only half right and that‘s being nice. “Birthday Girl” is a half baked attempt at putting bizarre characters together to try and spark some fun but director Jez Butterworth mostly misfires badly.

“Birthday Girl” has got a bunch of uninteresting characters with possibilities that never materialize into an enjoyable experience. There is really nothing new in this film that ignites you to pay attention although there a few moments that might cause you to smirk.

Even as a video/dvd rental title “Birthday Girl” will test your patience as you wait for a payoff that never happens.

Gil Benzeevi

2.5 out of 5

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