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offbeat, underplayed drama
Roland E. Zwick21 December 2002
Roughly one part crime drama to two parts offbeat love story, `Birthday Girl' is a nifty little British film that gives Nicole Kidman a chance to strut her stuff as an actress. Here she gets to play a Russian `mail order bride' (though, of course, in the modern world she is actually ordered off the internet) who's come to England to start a new life with John, a mild-mannered banker unsuccessful in the ways of love. John is one of those bland, utterly undistinguished `good guys' who everyone seems to like but no one seems to notice. Even his boss at the bank gives him one of those noncommittal job evaluations (saying what a swell guy he is and what a great way he has with people) used to fob people off when they are not good enough to merit a raise or a more prestigious position in the corporation. Forced to go the unconventional route in finding himself a wife, John hooks up with the lovely but inscrutable Nadia, a Russian woman who, John is appalled to learn, does not understand a word of English. Then just as John and Nadia seem to be forming a close relationship (literally bonding over bondage), complications arise when two of Nadia's bizarre `friends' from Russia suddenly arrive on the scene.

To reveal more of the plot would be unfair to both the viewer and the makers of this film, since much of the movie's intrigue arises from the frequent turnabouts in the plot itself. Although there is always the threat of violence hammering at the film's edges, writers Tom and Jez Butterworth (the latter serving as the film's director as well), manage to keep the film fairly havoc free while they focus on the developing relationship between the two main characters. Kidman, who speaks nary a word of English in the first half of the film (and only with a heavy accent thereafter), does a beautiful job conveying both the toughness and the vulnerability inherent in this woman. Though innately compassionate, Nadia has had to learn how to survive in a brutal world - even if that means having to exploit naïve, good-natured shmucks like John. As John, Ben Chaplin conveys just the right mixture of shyness, befuddlement and ultimate self-assuredness to make us root for the character. Because of his Everyman characteristics, we want to see John triumph in the end.

`Birthday Girl' doesn't try to push the envelope by indulging in elaborate action scenes or patently theatrical heroics. Its events seem to unravel in a spontaneous, naturalistic manner, which helps the film to remain relatively true to life most of the time. It tells an unusual story, one filled with wry humor, understated suspense and a compassionate recognition of human frailty. Well written and well acted, `Birthday Girl' is an unheralded film that deserves to be seen.
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An Enjoyable Movie with Lots of Surprises
Claudio Carvalho4 July 2003
John (Ben Chaplin) is a lonely bank clerk who lives in a small town not far from London. Though the Internet, he contacts a Russian agency of brides. He selects Sophia (Nicole Kidman – the guy could be lonely and shy, but certainly has a good taste, doesn't he?) and when they met each other, he realizes that she does not speak English. The communication between each other is basically limited by sex (again, imagine, what a terrible situation for the guy, just have some kinky sex with Nicole Kidman!). On her birthday, two Russian friends of her visit them. Then, lots of surprises will happen. I liked this movie: first, it is almost impossible to be 'labeled'. Is it a black comedy, an action, a thriller movie? I believe all the choices are correct. Nicole Kidman is gorgeous as usual, and I am very curious about her Russian: is she speaking Russian in a correct accent indeed, or just faking? Anyway, I found it an enjoyable movie. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "A Isca Perfeita" ("The Perfect Bait")
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Twists Come Early On In This Drama
ccthemovieman-129 April 2006
For a film that got little publicity, and few people have heard about, this was pretty good. It's another one of these modern-day British crime films that are quirky ("Snatch," "Sexy Beast," etc.). It's not wild like "Snatch" but it's interesting and it has some rough characters.

It also has a corny and somewhat predictable ending but early in the show - not late - has some neat twists to make it very interesting for the first-time viewer. Basically, it's about a low-key British male who sends away for a Russian "mail order bride" who winds up, with the aid of two Russian male friends, providing a couple of big surprises.

Ben Chapin and Nicole Kidman co-star, and are very good as are Vincent Cassel and Matthieu Kassovitz as Kidman's Russian cohorts. This is a different kind of film and well-acted. Kidman once again proves she's far more than just a beautiful face.
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truly funny, dramatic and awakening all at once
RayRoko1 August 2002
This movie really woke me up, like it wakes up the main male character of this bravely different movie from his life slumber.

This guy John (Ben Chaplin) leads his mediocre safe life of a bank teller in a small provincial English town, until the stunningly gorgeous, wild, girl-to-die-for Nadia (Nicole Kidman), ordered by email from Russia, enters his life to become his beloved wife, by Johns plan. However a glitch turns up - Nadia does not speak a word of Johns language. Although calm and emotionless on the outside, John becomes so interested in beautiful Nadia that instead of using the full refund policy of the matching service, he buys her a dictionary to start the communication process.

What happens henceforth in the plot really shakes poor John from his slumber of a decently-paid safe-feeling clerk into a decision-making decently thinking action figure, giving the viewer a subliminal message "you would have probably acted likewise".

Kidman, Cassel & Kassovitz make a great team acting Russians and they are almost indistinguishable from the real thing, "almost" only due to the slight accent present in their Russian dialogues, however slight enough to amaze a native Russian by the hard work done to get the words sound right. Nicole Kidman proves her talent once again by playing a character quite different from the previous roles, at least from the cultural background.

The pace of the film is fast and captivating, and you certainly are not ready to quit watching when the end titles appear, you rather feel that you're in the middle of the plot, and are left with a desire to see the sequel as soon as it comes out.

My advice is to go out and get this film immediately and watch it and enjoy. To sum it up, it has an unusual plot, great acting, and ideas below the surface. Like the idea of the "rude awakening" from the artificial safe routine life of a wheel in a Society's machine, the life which members of the Fight Club were so keen to quit and the machine of which Pink Floyd sings ("Welcome to the machine!"). I bet that in the end, John was rather off with Sophia on their way to the unknown than not having met her at all.

Thank you, writers, for the great story, and everyone else for this great movie! Please make a sequel! And you can stage it whereever and name the location whatever, because the authenticity of the place is irrelevant to the 99.9999 percent of the potential viewers, I am sure of it.
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Underrated romantic comedy
Andy-Denotti9 June 2006
This is a good example a film that in spite of the low rating is more than worth watching. The story is engaging and it doesn't take long before the chemistry between Nicole Kidman and Ben Chaplin grabs your attention. The acting is first class and the characters are represented well. Sometimes it feels like the director couldn't decide himself between drama and romantic comedy. Ben Chiller's portrayal of the law abiding and shy Englishman with porn S.M. magazines hidden in the bedroom creates plenty of moments for laughs! As does the look in Nicole Kidman's eyes when she is offering John his first taste of intimacy in a long time... Other times the actors and especially Nicole Kidman give this comedy quite expertly a dramatic slant.
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A good premise, but the overall film is just so-so...
MovieAddict201622 August 2005
John (Ben Chaplin) is a hapless bachelor in St. Albans, looking for love in all the wrong places. So he goes online and orders a Russian mail-order bride. She arrives in the form of Nicole Kidman. Although her background is questionable and her English is fragmented, she's great in bed, so he has no complaints.

However when her "cousins" appear at his door a whole new world of deception and violence opens up for John, pulling him deeper and deeper under.

The premise for the film is fairly good, but the overall execution is just so-so. Nicole Kidman gives a really good performance (worthy of a better film) but Ben Chaplin is just OK. He slaps her around a bit, which is about as daring as his character manages to be. Anyone could play the role, so he's kind of stuck in a rut.

The movie is grungy, dark and feels independent - it's hard to imagine Hollywood royalty Nicole Kidman signing onto it, but she is really the reason this film remains interesting and engaging. Without her, I don't think I would have bothered to sit through all of it.
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A good wife. A good husband. An excellent film
Cristian2 April 2007
Are you a giraffe?... ask John to Nadia, and she, sure of responding well, responds him: yes. In this way begin the communication between a man and a woman who don't know each other, and at the same time, the questions and doubts in "Birthday Girl". A film that i heard a lot of times, but i don't dare to see... until two hours of write this.

"Birthday Girl" is a passionate movie that makes me fall in count, at the same time, that Nicole Kidman is one of the best actress (Besides she is pretty and intelligent) that i have ever seen. "Birthday Girl" is the story of a lonely and routine man who looks for a wife at internet. The woman that he finds comes from Russia. She seems to be that delicate woman, normal, not more. One day, in her birthday comes suddenly, his cousin and his friend. The man, begin to discover certain things. Since here, he don't going to be the lonely and routine man that always have been.

Much of us going to think that this movie is just a regular one with a exploited plot. Much of us going to think that the action and thrills are sure and don't novel. But "Birthday Girl" is just the opposite. This movie is full of good surprises, good performances and a imaginative plot that i had never seen and imagined. This romantic thriller with certain funny touch is an excellent natural film with a lot of proposes for the films of it kind. "Birthday Girl" have certain beauty and crudeness in its scenes, but at the same time, certain touching nature, and makes it so deeper.

"Birthday Girl" is sometimes sad, sometimes funny, sometimes violent, but at the end, is totally satisfactory. And I'm not sorry in say that this is a masterpiece.

*Sorry for the mistakes...well, if there any.
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The last time I ever listen to critics or audiences again!
Good-Evening-Clarice8 September 2002
From what critics and audiences indicated, BIRTHDAY GIRL had to be a big fat clinker. Still, because I love Nicole Kidman, I decided to rent it last night. It proved to be quite worthy of watching. Sure, it isn't your basic American comedy, and it doesn't take a genius to realize that it is a very British movie, but that's why I liked it. It was a change from all the other movies around, a breath of fresh air. Sure, there were some plot holes, but overall it worked. First off, Kidman was fabulous again in a very different, not very glamorous, but still quite sexy role. She just keeps proving that she is one of the top talents in Hollywood. Not only is her Russian accent when she speaks English effective, but there are times when she carries on long conversations in Russian and if you didn't know it was Nicole Kidman, you would never question her authenticity. Harrison Ford should have taken note in "K-19." Overall a slight little movie that works despite the horrible buzz.
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A gem which everyone missed
David19825 August 2002
The critics didn't like this film. It bombed in the States and as a result received only a limited showing in Britain. Which was a great shame, because it represents British rather than American humour and should have been shown in Britain first.

Nicole Kidman looks stunning and is a totally convincing Russian. Ben Chaplin is the Dustin Hoffman character from 'The Graduate', and 'Birthday Girl' has at least 4 scenes which remind the viewer of that 1960s classic (despite being a totally different story!).

Sure it changes tack a number of times from comedy to black comedy to thriller to adventure - but it's memorable, moving and a weclome breath of fresh air compared to the average mega-budget blockbuster.

See it with an open mind!
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Likeable performances in story with nowhere to go
MisterWhiplash1 February 2002
Birthday Girl has a not too bad premise- good old English chum decides out of lonliness and maybe something else to order a mail order bride from Russia. It turns out, his order is not quite what he wanted, but she (Nicole Kidman) seems like a nice enough wife, until not what was planned happens in a series of events getting the english chum and his russian bride on the run. Sometimes amusing, but it is not good enough as a movie since it can never really get into its characters and seems to float for part of the 2nd act and 3rd act. Kidman is still sexy though. C+
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A gift for us
tomsview21 May 2014
This is a clever, funny, sexy movie that starts as a romantic comedy and then becomes an edgy thriller.

Nerdy bank clerk, John Buckingham (Ben Chaplin) lives in a semi-rural town not far from London. When he orders a Russian mail order bride over the Internet, she duly self-delivers herself to the airport in the form of Nadia (Nicole Kidman). One of his main requirements in the arrangement was, "Someone you can really talk to. I think communication is key". But as John drives her home, he realises that Nadia can't speak English - or seems not to.

Although John at first desperately tries to contact the aptly named 'From Russia with Love' marriage agency to cancel the deal, the language barrier becomes far less important when he discovers that Nadia is sexually adventurous and encourages him to indulge his every fantasy with her.

Everything seems to be going perfectly for John until Nadia's Russian cousin, Yuri (Mathieu Kassovitz), and his friend Alexei (Vincent Cassel) turn up and overwhelm his life. Effusively friendly at first, they soon prove disturbingly dangerous, and John realises that all is not as it seems.

The plot heads into unpredictable territory and although the ending is pretty crazy it is also satisfying in light of all the revelations that take place along the way.

The film has a lightness of touch, but also a dark side. If I could compare it with any other film it might be Jonathan Demme's "Something Wild" - the sexually aggressive girl, the nerdy guy, the slowly blossoming relationship and the intrusion of a psychotic and dangerous boyfriend. The basic ingredients work in both movies.

Ben Chaplin hits just the right note as the colourless bank clerk who actually has a repressed wild side, he just needs the right person to unlock it and set it loose. His performance is both funny and engaging.

Pretty, sexy, and slim almost to the point of fragility, Nicole Kidman's Nadia looks vulnerable, but as we discover as the story unfolds, looks are deceiving. This is a captivating performance; she has little dialogue - and half of that is in Russian.

The amazing Vincent Cassel plays Alexei. No one can play dangerous like this guy. I didn't realise that he made "Birthday Girl" before "Irreversible". His role here was a good warm up, he exudes unpredictability - look at that martial arts kick he does when he is jogging with John. It is an indication of John's growth of character when he actually takes him on.

A lot of reviewers regard this as a flawed work, but I'm not so sure I can see the flaws. I enjoyed it from start to finish - I couldn't see how it was actually going to end, but it felt about right when it did.
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Was this a comedy, thriller, romance or what?
emuir-116 January 2006
This film would have played better as a romantic comedy. Instead it was neither one thing nor another. All the performances were good, but somehow it missed the mark. More like a satire of an Alfred Hitchcock thriller. The plot was too silly for a thriller, the characters were caricatures and the uptight bank clerk would have gone to the police immediately they demanded cash. As a comedy, they could have got away with a preposterous plot and the equally preposterous ending, but as a thriller, it simply fell flat.

Nicole Kidman can successfully play the sort of girl who could be a real head turner if she didn't dress like trash, combed her hair, got washed, and stopped lighting one cigarette from another. The scenes of her puffing away on a cigarette casually hanging from the side of her mouth were hilarious. She probably substituted flea market perfume for deodorant. The two Russian accomplices were also good, and Ben Chaplin was suitably uptight as the "victim". At first I thought he was too handsome to get a mail order bride, but to have made him a geek would have been too predictable. There are many handsome and successful men who just seem to strike out with the ladies.

Overall, I would rate this OK if you have absolutely nothing better to do.
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Black comedy takes some odd right and left turns, never seeming fully satisfied with itself...
moonspinner5514 July 2010
Mild-mannered bachelor bank teller near London advertises for a Russian wife on the internet, and is disappointed when the young lady who shows up at the airport doesn't speak any English (she's a willing sport in bed, however); when two of her Russian buddies show up at his house, the man realizes he's been set up to rob his own bank, yet still feels a connection to this strange, sexy woman. Peculiar, darkly comic series of confusions, double crosses, bedroom fetishes (and ants!) written by the team of Tom and Jez Butterworth (Jez also directed, while Steve Butterworth produced). It was obviously a labor of love for the group, and they could not have found better leads than Nicole Kidman and handsome Ben Chaplin, both excellent in their roles. Still, the script disappoints--it's all over the map--and by the third act we've lost something intrinsic in the characters. Chaplin (who amusingly resembles both Joaquin Phoenix and Steve Carrell) is never humiliated on-screen (he's treated badly but always rebounds and looks after himself); still, the man's anger is released in odd ways (too much slapping) and we never understand his attachment to Kidman's Russian vixen. Is this an emotional connection or is it purely physical? Well-made movie has some fine, prickly moments (mostly in the first hour). It loses itself in its circular twists, swallowing its tail in the bargain, however the film is still a decent attempt at something different. ** from ****
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odd yet strangely entertaining film
Parmdeep Jagdev16 July 2005
This film is definitely an odd love story. Though this film may not be much to shout about, Nicole Kidman carries the film on her own the rest of the cast could quite easily be forgotten, though Ben Chaplin does do quite a good job of Hertfordshire Life with shots of St Albans & Hemel Hempstead town centre depicting the true essence of the area. What starts outlooking like a regular episode of the popular British TV series"Heartbeat" soon turns into a gritty gangster getaway action flick.Nothing truly memorable happens in this simple small film and thus ends-up as fairly decent weekend entertainment. A good one to watch, and if you like the hero john are lonely thirty something you may find something to identify with in his character.
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Kidman Shines in Russian
dromasca10 October 2002
This is a comedy based on national stereotypes, no doubt. If you leave away pretending you know or you care what Communism was about and how real Russians or Brits are, if you accept and are not hurt by the conventions, you can have fun with this film. Nicole Kidman is at her best, sexy, moving and funny. Ben Chaplin succeeds to avoid being completely out-shadowed by Nicole, and the rest of the cast does good work as well. The final is moving, and logical - movie logics, of course. Worth watching, if you accept the rules of the game.
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I can't quite decide which is worse - the script or the directing.

We're slowly introduced to John (Chaplin), a mild mannered (the mildest EVER) bank clerk looking for a mail order bride from a russian website. It's a slow, dull start to the movie that I was hoping was just setting the scene for some interesting viewing. However, Butterworth decided to maintain this tempo for the entire movie. Low tempo can be great if you have the material and sufficiently powerful acting (Lost In Translation for example), this is turgid, the actors are cardboard at best. At times we are introduced to plot points (John's ex for example) that disappear without trace quicker than they appeared. I really feel I'm wasting my breath reviewing this terrible movie - it doesn't deserve analysis. Last word - script = first draft, director = unable to get moderately good performance from a decent cast.
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A total waste.
Rockwell_Cronenberg7 February 2012
A film that has no idea what it wants to be. Is it a black comedy? No, comedies are supposed to be funny. Is it a sex comedy? No, since it's not sexy either. Is it a black romance? No, romances are supposed to be romantic. Is it a light thriller? No, thrillers are supposed to be at least moderately exciting. It seems like it's aim is more in the comedy realm, constantly going for jokes that never land, but then it switches to thriller so drastically that it loses whatever pace it had going for it and then it randomly jumps around to a romance a few minutes later.

It's all over the place with no footing, since Ben Chaplin is a remarkably flat and uncharismatic lead who was painful to watch. I hate characters that are written like this, the nerdy passive loser who suddenly decides that he's an action hero, but Chaplin takes it to a new level with his complete like of anything compelling. Nicole Kidman gives it her all as a Russian mail-order bride (get it, because it's "funny") and despite her recognizable star power she is actually pretty convincing in the role. Vincent Cassel and Mathieu Kassovitz come in as two more Russians (because when you want to cast Russians, you go for Australians and Frenchmen) and while Cassel is relatively decent, Kassovitz just looks like a French guy speaking Russian.

But even if the cast was all on fire there would have been nothing to resurrect this dud from it's poor writing and direction. A real waste of some good actors, thank god director Jez Butterworth hasn't directed anything else since.
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Dithering black comedy that wasn't supposed to be funny and ends up equally anti-climatic.
johnnyboyz19 October 2007
Birthdays: normally a time for happiness, fun, an opportunity for friends and family to get in contact with you via cards or phone calls wishing their regards but here; in Birthday Girl, there is none of that. John (Chaplin) is a guy whose life is plain and dull in his honest opinion; so bad in fact that he orders a girl over the internet to come and live with him; this premise is about as exciting as John's life is or was and for the record; doesn't make sense: he orders a 'mail bride' yet when she offers him the ring, he declines; there is no set up involving the company so we're sort of lead to believe that it doesn't exist but since it's on the Internet where millions can access it, it seems a little far fetched that Sophia or Nadia (Kidman) or whatever should show up on John's door when there are probably hundreds and hundreds of richer, more closer to home people she could go to.

Birthday Girl is a sort of hybrid of 2005's Derailed and Almodóvar's quirky film from 1990: Átame! The idea that a guy and a girl get involved when they shouldn't really be is toyed with in Birthday Girl since she's a mail order bride whereas in Átame, Banderas' character had been freed from a psychiatric hospital and in Derailed, the male and the female just hook up on a train – Chaplin in this film even looks a little like Clive Owen. Unfortunately, Birthday Girl falls short of both films which were rather enjoyable in the end because of its lack of confidence. Derailed gets a little nasty once Vincent Cassel (who's also in this) shows up and that propels twists, turns and a good character study of Clive Owen's Charles Schine and what to do but Birthday Girl just seems to lack punch, it lacks violence and it lacks that hard-boiled, noir undertone, revenge feel that I really wish it had.

Birthday Girl has problems not only with its content and which way it's going to go but with its characters and their logic as well as the film's overall logic. Things turn a little ugly once Alexei (Cassel) and Yuri (Kassovitz) turn up and yet when John is suspicious, the police don't even seem to enter the equation over whether or not he should consult them likewise; when he is pressured into stealing money it is the fear of them doing something outrageous to Nadia that stops him from alerting the authorities and only because since her arrival, she's been supplying him with his sadomasochistic desires that I can only guess was the reason for getting her because he was on the verge of giving her up what with all the phone calls back to the website. This spawns two things: First, why didn't HE instigate the sadomasochism instead of leaving her to find out and secondly, did he really think they would harm their own cousin out of jealousy of his 'perfect life' with 'perfect house' and car? They'd been there a few days and not had any problem – all of a sudden they are sick with envy and are going to kill their own cousin; like that'll do anything and without fooling around, when that scene happened it was so out of the blue that I questioned the authenticity. If they wanted him to steal money, they would've threatened him or perhaps HIS cousins.

Like I said; instead of developing into a revenge film, it flags and bothers about with further character development between John and Nadia, who by this time you rather dislike, before giving him lungs of steel in order to chase down a taxi just when he needs to. John, like the film, remains passive; the antagonists disappear for a day or two before popping up again just when they need to (they're stupid enough to hang around) and just when you need a violent, entertaining finale with a strong lead – you get John trying to scare this hardened Russian con artist with a cigarette lighter shaped like a gun, it's pretty laughable. Birthday Girl doesn't have any stand out things about it but just potters along at a pace that is good but nothing great. I didn't feel anything for John except sorrow for him but I was doing that after five minutes. This could've been a great character study about how far one man will go (like Derailed did) to beat the odds but it ended up as a damp, nothing drama about a bunch of people who have nothing better to do.
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Uneven and unconvincing but does enough to keep you watching
bob the moo17 August 2005
John is a shy and lonely bank teller in St Albans who just wants to meet a nice woman. Eventually he turns to a website where he can get Russian brides and he orders one. When he collects Nadia from the airport he finds that she doesn't speak a word of English and he tries to get her "returned". Getting no reply from the telephone number he has, Nadia gradually changes John's mind through sex. Despite the total lack of language, the two seem to be getting on well and John is happy with his new life but, on Nadia's birthday, two of her friends arrive totally unannounced and things take a change for the worse.

This film is listed as being just about every genre possible to select on this site and this highlights one of the problems with the film – it is uneven and doesn't quite settle into any one thing well enough to succeed at it. The mix of romance and comedy pretty much never works and it does take away from what should have been a more effective dramatic plot. The logic in the story pretty much works; perhaps not in real world terms but on its own. It kept moving well enough to keep me watching even if it didn't do anything particularly well – it engaged me although I think I was quite forgiving of it because I wasn't in that demanding a mood.

The cast are better than the material deserves and they are a big part of making it work. Kidman should be applauded for her film roles, certainly they are unusual for such a big star to do as many smaller things as she does. Here she spends most of the film doing an accent but her presence is good regardless and it means we are still interested in her whenever she starts speaking. Chaplin is better because he is grounded in the real world (sort of) and his performance means he more than holds his own opposite the starry leading lady. I generally don't like Cassel but here he was OK and his worked well with Kassovitz to delivered an improved second half where the drama came to the fore. The support cast is strange – not bad but not good either. The presence of Armstrong and Miller is just another example of the uneven tone to the film – the comedians both seem to be trying to inject a small bit of humour by their delivery, but it doesn't work and sticks out a bit like a sore thumb.

Overall this has enough going on to keep you watching but it doesn't do anything that well, producing an uneven affair that only gets a bit better in the second half where the focus appears to settle down. It is never illogical to a detrimental point but it is unconvincing at points. File under D for distracting, because it is watchable as long as you don't expect too much from it.
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A waste of a good cast
JBLOSS25 November 2002
Birthday Girl doesn't know what it wants to be - is it a comedy,, is it a just doesn't know. What could have been a very funny or touching film ends up in no-man's land. The premise is original enough to have warranted a script full of interesting scenarios but hardly delivers any and ends up petering out. This is a real shame if you look at the cast - it's very solid all the way through but they don't get the chance to shine. Very disappointing.
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Like day old pizza
George Parker13 August 2002
Some will hate it, some will love it, and most will find it unsatisfying and marginally palatable. "Birthday Girl" tells of an Englishman (Chaplin) who orders a Russian bride via the Internet and gets more than he bargained for. No, Kidman is not sexalicious in spite of what the advertising suggests. Instead, "B-Day Girl" squeaks by with a meager make-it-up-as-you-go plot, poor chemistry between Kidman and Chaplin, and wouldn't fit any genre if it was hammered in. A silly mix of dry comedy and drama which doesn't end as much as it quits. Mediocre stuff best saved for broadcast. (C)
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Mattias Petersson30 December 2005
I had never even heard about "Birthday Girl" before i borrowed it on DVD from one of my friends. The cover said "Thriller" and i guess that was what i expected, especially considering the quite dark tone set by the front of the cover. When the movie started though i was a bit surprised...

And i guess i'm not the only surprised by this. It seems the film-makers themselves are almost surprised by the change of styles that happen about half-way into the movie. It begins as a light comedy, turns darker and then ends on an almost comical note. All the way through i found the darker parts hard to accept because of the silly beginnings.

I don't know the background here myself. This movie doesn't seem like the usual big-budget things you would expect to see Nicole Kidman. The fact that she speaks Russian in most of the movie is also something unexpected. Sometimes i feel that this is maybe the point of the whole movie. An experiment where Nicole Kidman, Vincent Cassel and Mathieu Kassovitz speak Russian as a prop? If that is the case it's not enough by far to carry this movie.

I can't say that i was bored with "Birthday Girl" really. It was entertaining enough most of the time. But the ambiguous moods of the film disturbed me. I find it very hard to take the serious parts seriously when there is comedy right around the corner. Somehow it takes the edge of. It would have been better to choose a style and stick with it. Also the stereotypical Russians (played by french actors) are a tired concept. A movie that is not painfully bad, but easily forgotten.

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No humour, no suspense, no good actors, just awful
Briandeer11 January 2003
What a boring film. I didn't expect very much, but it was worse than I thought. Chaplin with the same expression during all the film, Kidman with red eyes all the time, a two stereotyped stupid russians. 1/10
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Worst movie with bad story ever
lia0002727 November 2002
What were Nicole and Ben thinking when say yes to this film. Oh very awful With bad story. England always made FILM worst, even I know that England is have many good artist.

I'm very disapointed with this movie, the story line is bad with no emotion think. This can make people feel the thing. They want entertain in house after work not become so hate because this movie.

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