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Birthday Girl
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Reviews & Ratings for
Birthday Girl More at IMDbPro »

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Excellent

9/10
Author: Aaron Bradley (scissors1) from Wisconsin
13 August 2002

I had no idea what this movie was really about when I brought it

home, but I knew it would have some action, and that's what I was

in the mood for. And while it delivered the action I wanted, I was

surprised to find that this film had much more to offer. Ben's

character was somewhat stale, but that's just what works best in

this movie. That's how it's SUPPOSED to be. And Nicole Kidman

was hotter in this role than any other movie I've seen her in, and I

say this even though she's about twice my age (I'm 17). As far as

the accents go, since so many users appear upset about it, I think

they did a fine job. Now if you're from Russia or any other

Eurasian country then you'd probably notice, but since I'm from

WISCONSIN I couldn't tell and it really made no difference. C'mon,

MOST actors have problems getting the accents of other country's

down. No one who's not a native can ever really get it perfect.

She's Australian for christ's sake, and she did fine. In conclusion,

if you want to see a funny, dark love story that beats most of the

other movies out right now (The New Guy), then see this one.

Don't worry about the accents and you won't be disappointed. 9/10

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wild personalities

6/10
Author: pri_e from Sydney, Australia
9 August 2002

I hadn't seen Ben Chaplin in a movie since "The Truth About Cats & Dogs" so I was really happy that they finally decided to release this movie especially since it was made 3 years ago!! Also I wanted to see Nicole Kidman again, I think she's a great actress and finally has the credit she deserves.

Ben plays a plain banker who decides to order a Russian mail bride via the net, who he get's is Nadia (Nicole Kidman) and more than he bargains for. Nicole is convincing as a Russian, I guess Aussies such as myself can pick up on the Australian twang. However she did a great job as the wild girl who really has a soft heart, Ben is terrific in this character displaying two totally different elements to the personality of John.

I thought they could have emphasised the more romantic elements of the movie but overall it's a good watch

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ridiculous Russian accents

6/10
Author: Kebalin from Pretoria, South Africa
7 August 2002

Unfortunately this is another proof that even the best Western actors will never be able to pretend to be Russian. And it's not only the horrible accent - it's everything. And the worse part is that, judging by other comments, Western audience really perceives them as convincing Russians - no surprise the Cold War lasted so long.

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Good introduction to Ben Chaplin

7/10
Author: m from Bern, CH
2 August 2002

Ben Chaplin is amazing in this film : shy and reserved in the beginnign , he suddenly becomes ironic and actually funny. The story in itself is difficult to comment as I would not like to spoil this jewel that got me forgetting the boring Spiderman and his mibII friends. It is just a pity that some scenes feel so looooooooong but maybe is this comment just dictated by that hardcore voice inside my head... :-(

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Disappointed by Nicole.

Author: Rob (superviii@aol.com) from new jersey
16 July 2002

Although Nicole Kidman is an amazing and gorgeous actress, this movie disappointed me. Her acting was alright, and the Russian accent was to die for. But the movie itself had too many flaws. Plus it was kinda boring, ya know. But it did teach me a valuable lesson against talking to girls on the internet.

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Surprisingly good film. Drama/ Suspense/ Comedy/ Romance

9/10
Author: John Scott (johnscott99) from Hull, UK
9 July 2002

I went to see this by accident. I went to the cinema and missed the film I wanted to see and this was the next film showing. I totally enjoyed it. Kidman is a great actress now that she is out of Tom Cruise's shadow. It s a great little British comedy. There are no car chases, no gun fights, no explosions and the TV advert does not do it credit. There is a dark side to the film that is excellently directed and great scenes where you can't help laughing out loud. Chapman is also excellent - proving he's not just a pretty face. Please don't be put off by the "Great British Comedy" label it's got. Don't be put off by Nicole Kidman playing a Russian (She's excellent!). Just go and see for yourself.

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Are you a giraffe?

10/10
Author: prue-4 from sydney australia
6 July 2002

This is an excellent film its funny dark and full of suspence.Nicole Kidman and Ben Chaplin are both great in thier roles.Also the russian acients are very good from all three russian roles.This was another excellent choice of role for Nicole Kidman first Moulin Rouge! then The Others and now this film she is definatly on a roll.Go and see this film if you haven`t already because its better than a lot of films that are out at the moment (spider man).

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A Good Watch!

Author: scumgrief99 from London
11 June 2002

This film grasped me from the start. I really wanted to watch on and became more anxious as time passed with my own theory of how the plot would unravel and i was pleasantly surprised.

For anyone who has seen it already and is reading this i think you will agree that the idea is not so unbelieveable in todays world and im sure it happens, although probably not many of the victims actually admit it!

Its nice to see such a collaberation between Miramax and FilmFour. They made a film with substance, wit, comedy and the ability to be watched more than once.

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Nicole is the only bright spot in this otherwise unfocused, unbelievable, and totally forgettable film

Author: deputydoofus
28 February 2002

Never have the Miramax Meddling Machine been at work more than with BIRTHDAY GIRL. I can tell you one thing for certain-The Butterworth Brothers did not have "final cut".

The music used in the film was awful. I could feel some sort of editor slicing and compressing scenes to their bare minimums. The overall cheesiness of the film came just as much as whatever Miramax producer got their hands on the film. I think we would have seen a very different film if the Jez Butterworth actually got the chance to finish the film that he and his brother had started, perhaps more of a Coen Brothers Fargo/Something Wild type of film. Thanks to the cheesiness, we have what is a total chick flick.

However, I am not saying that the film would have been competent without the meddling. I don't really think much original thought went into the making of this film. This is basically a "high concept" picture, meaning that its easy to put the premise into a one sentence summary: "A man orders a Mail Order Bridge, only to find out she wasn't the woman she pretended to be." This isn't a very interesting concept, and the Butterworths are not talented or experienced enough to sustain this idea into an entire motion picture. The final version that we have in screen is definitely a failure, an anti-noir that ends up being more and more preposterous and unbelievable at every turn. I felt so uninterested with what in the story came next because I just couldn't believe any of it. I really don't think any of the larger issues which kept the film from being a success would have played out beautifully if the Butterworths had their way in the film's completion.

That isn't to say that the film was entirely without bright spots. Nicole Kidman, obviously, is perfectly cast in the lead role of Nadia. With perfect to almost-perfect Russian dialects, she makes the turns at every corner as easy as her part in the film will allow. Playing the game of "Keep your eyes on Nicole Kidman" will probably be the only reason to rent this film once it comes out on video. Also good is Mathieu Kassovitz, who gives an inferior performance to Kidman, but nonetheless creates a confident, always believable character that creates a bizarre awkwardness and typical Russian scariness. Vincent Cassel, on the other hand, becomes desperately unbelievable, and any conflict he has with Kidman seems forced, rushed, and strangely incompetent. Vincent Cassel should stick to films where he speaks French and roles where he doesn't play the villain. Ben Chaplin does not belong in this film either, and doesn't pull his part of the weight in getting the film off the ground. He never seemed to know what type of film he was in, which perhaps wouldn't be a negative, per se, but when Nicole Kidman is so confident at every change, he seems to be rather apathetic and uncertain of what emotion he's supposed to display.

When the film actually slows down to let Nadia and John actually talk to each other, this is where the film actually has some positive momentum. This is what the Butterworths are good at, creating character development based on dialogue between two people. Its a shame that there is so little of it, as Kidman is forced to speak Russian for the majority of the film, and they seem to continually be separated throughout the rest of the film. I also don't like the way the director decided to stage some of the set-up, as in certain scenes, the actors only acted in a certain way to fool the viewer, who has been provided with subtitles and close proximity camera angles to Nadia while she was supposed to be in private. For instance, Nadia should know that John doesn't speak Russian, but when she speaks to the Russian friends for the first time, they all speak dialogue that is made to mislead who ever is listening, and in this case, it was only the person watching the screen. In my book, this type of tom-foolery gets a thumb down.

I find Birthday Girl to be a forced yet unfocused botched job that just happens to have one tremendous performance at the center and offers a few lines of good dialogue. I would not suggest anyone to go out of their way to see this film, but perhaps worth the time to turn on if its on basic cable. My advice to the Butterworth brothers is: Stay away from noir, stay away from thrillers. Your strong point is character development and dialogue. Make a nice comedy.

Overall: ** out of ****

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Mencken was right--you'll never go broke underestimating the public taste

Author: John Joss (jjoss@aol.com) from Mountain View, California
23 February 2002

Nicole Kidman is an interesting actress, going back to DEAD CALM, but this travesty of a movie is unworthy of her. Why (except for the money) would she have bothered to be involved? Who decides (i.e. via 'green light') what to foist on the public? Is the Kidman 'name' enough to recover the investment? How cynical are the clowns behind the curtain? Trying to empathize with this film is like trying to understand the minds of psychotics. It can be done, but--unless you are a professional psychologist, cop or lawyer--why would you want to? The lead characters are shallow, brain dead and unlikeable. The cinematography is leaden and uninspired. The script? Where could one start in an attempt to plumb its trivial shallows? This is a small, indeed tiny movie for small, indeed tiny minds. To make matters worse, many excellent scripts, actors and moviemakers won't get the chance to succeed when the distribution system is clogged with this sort of appalling junk.

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