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Birthday Girl

2 Ratings: 0.5
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Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Action, Adventure
Release Date: February 1, 2002
MPAA Rating: R
1 review about Birthday Girl

Sleep-inducing Brit flick

  • Dec 21, 2009
  • by
No matter how much I try to convince people that British stereotypes aren't true, along comes a movie so ripe with blokes with bad teeth, chaps with awkward communication, rolling green hills in the rain and the seesaw of sexual retardation and perversity. On the upside, if the Brits are 2-dimensional here, I feel really sorry for the Russians who are all criminal, untrustworthy, scheming and slugging back vodka in every damned scene.

The plot is about an uptight bank emlployee who gets a Russian mail-order bride who is part of a ring to blackmail him - and hilarity supposedly ensues. It veers inconsistently between kinky sex, threats of violence, subplots that go nowhere, and all centers around the most improbable romance since Ben Affleck and J-Lo. It's like a student media project that somehow got made into a major movie with Nicole Kidman.

The generally unlikeable main character, Ben Chaplin, is so underwritten that his character is expressed through driving a backfiring old car and trying to kill ants invading his house. Kidman does a reasonable job with zero lines in the first half, but - much like the Dolphin in SeaQuest DSV - once the screenwriter gets her to talk it's all downhill. The blackmail scheme goes completely off the rails since it flies in the face of what the hero would do (ie. call the police) - he immediately robs the bank even though they've shown he's so anal that furniture disappears when he sits down.

This is the sort of film wouldn't even get made for TV over here. There are way too many scenes where the actors stare at each other and say nothing as a substitute for character or plot. It's drab to watch (set in St Albans, one of the centers of 'Chav') and somehow becomes less involving as it progresses. It's a tough 90 minutes, and ultimately makes you wonder if Nicole Kidman is going to fire her agent soon, given her long, long string of misses.

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December 21, 2009
I haven't seen too many Brit films before, but of the ones that I have watched before, I've noticed that they were really long drawn, more than necessary.  Maybe Brits are just more patient than Americans :P  And it's always interesting to see how some high-budget movies in some other countries don't have as high standards as the films made here.  I'm just extra surprised at this particular film being one of them since it has Nicole Kidman's name on it! :x
December 21, 2009
Something like 95% of British films receive government subsidies (vs 0% here) so there's more of an arthouse approach, where arthouse is a euphemism for Nytol. They tend to focus on endless adaptations of Dickens and Jane Austen and a belief that it must be good if it's a costume drama. There are a few things the USA still rules the world on, and thankfully movies are right at the top of the list! Avatar all the way! 3D! Yay! :-)
December 21, 2009
Whoa! I had no idea that Brit films received government subsidies. That's so strange to me. If we did here, I'm afraid of the films that would emerge. I still need to catch Avatar. 3D! :D
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