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Birthday Girl (2001)

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A thirtysomething bank clerk from St Albans has his small-town life exploded by the arrival of his Russian mail-order bride.

Director:

Jez Butterworth
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicole Kidman ... Sophia, alias Nadia
Ben Chaplin ... John
Vincent Cassel ... Alexei
Mathieu Kassovitz ... Yuri
Kate Lynn Evans Kate Lynn Evans ... Clare (as Kate Evans)
Stephen Mangan ... Bank Manager
Alexander Armstrong ... Robert Moseley (as Xander Armstrong)
Sally Phillips ... Karen
Jo McInnes Jo McInnes ... Waitress
Ben Miller ... Concierge
Jonathan Aris ... D.I. O'Fetiger
Katya Barton-Chapple Katya Barton-Chapple ... Young Sophia
Rebecca Clarke Rebecca Clarke ... Bank Colleague
Mark Gatiss ... Porter
Raj Ghatak ... Bank Colleague
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Storyline

Internet love connections and mail-order brides rarely ever work out, and John should have known. Having never been lucky in the game of love and tired of waiting for the perfect woman to come along, John decides to take his chances and orders a mail-order bride from Russia online. At first, things seem perfect: his new bride Nadia is a gorgeous woman, and although she may not speak much English, her skills in the bedroom more than make up for any communication problems. When Nadia's 'cousins' unexpectedly arrive to celebrate her birthday, John is drawn into their web of corruption and crime. Written by Anna <dimenxia@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She's nothing he ever expected and everything he's always desired. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

1 February 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ruleta rusa See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,370,809, 3 February 2002

Gross USA:

$5,142,576

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$16,171,098
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Playwright Jez Butterworth's last film. He has not directed a feature film since, partly because he disliked the slow process of film-making, and has focused on writing instead. See more »

Goofs

When John knocks out Alexei with the guitar it clearly misses by quite some distance and doesn't break. See more »

Quotes

John: I'll give you a tune later.
See more »

Connections

References Gran Turismo (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Sugar and Spice
Written by Tony Hatch
Performed by The Searchers
Courtesy of Sanctuary Records Group
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Uneven and unconvincing but does enough to keep you watching
17 August 2005 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

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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