Birthday Girl

Birthday Girl

4.0 4
Director: Jez Butterworth, Piers Thompson

Cast: Jez Butterworth, Piers Thompson, Nicole Kidman, Ben Chaplin

     
 

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A man looking for love gets more than he bargained for when he chooses his prospective wife on the internet in this dark comedy. The manager of a bank in a small British community (Ben Chaplin) decides that he's in need of long-term companionship, and through an on-line marriage broker called From Russia With Love, he obtains a "mail order" bride (Nicole Kidman).… See more details below

Overview

A man looking for love gets more than he bargained for when he chooses his prospective wife on the internet in this dark comedy. The manager of a bank in a small British community (Ben Chaplin) decides that he's in need of long-term companionship, and through an on-line marriage broker called From Russia With Love, he obtains a "mail order" bride (Nicole Kidman). While he's more than pleased that his new fiancée is so beautiful, she turns out to have a dangerous and mysterious side that he wasn't counting on, and things become quite complicated when two of her cousins (Vincent Cassel and Mathieu Kassovitz) arrive from Russia and move into his tiny house in St. Albans. Though set in England, Birthday Girl was actually shot in Australia, which allowed leading lady Nicole Kidman to stay in touch with her then- husband, Tom Cruise, who was shooting Mission: Impossible II in Australia at the same time.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Karl Williams
This long-on-the-shelf feature finally earned a release slot thanks to the stellar performance of two other Nicole Kidman star vehicles, Moulin Rouge (2001) and The Others (2001). That's usually an indication of serious problems with the finished product, and indeed the sophomore film from playwright Jez Butterworth feels like a heavily edited, chopped-up affair, as if it has been repeatedly mauled by censors, studio executives, or some other authoritative figure lacking confidence in its quirky tone. Birthday Girl (2002) is not a disaster, however. At heart it's a dark romantic comedy and often a fairly solid one to boot; it simply verges too many times into thriller territory, deviating too much from its sense of self. Becoming increasingly absurd and pinwheeling back and forth between a delightfully larcenous loopiness and unwelcome attempts at evoking real menace, the film stumbles badly in its second half until wrapping up with a botch of an act three that moves the characters woodenly and without much purpose from point A to point B (the woods, then the airport, then a hotel conveniently nearby, then back to the airport). The writers simply haven't taken the time to spin their splendid little premise and characters someplace truly interesting. Either that, or those dreaded test audience responses (where do they get these people?) have dictated a reshot finale that is a dumbed-down bore. Kidman continues to be a revelation, even in a film that will likely be seen as a footnote to her banner year as an actress. There's much to like in the setup of Butterworth's film, but its payoff is too slim and he's working from a script (co-written with his brother Tom Butterworth) that hasn't yet figured out what sort of film it really is.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/15/2012
UPC:
0096009776398
Original Release:
2001
Rating:
R
Source:
Miramax Echo Bridge
Time:
1:30:00

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Nicole Kidman Nadia
Ben Chaplin John
Vincent Cassel Alexei
Mathieu Kassovitz Yuri
Kate Evans Claire
Rebecca Clarke Bank Collegue
Sue Maund Woman With Lost Hat
Alan Stocks Passport official
Ben Miller Concierge
Sally Phillips Karen
Jonathan Aris D.I. O'Fetiger
Jack Pierce Bank Collegue
Jo McInnes Waitress
Xander Armstrong Robert Moseley
Katya Barton-Chapple Young Sophia
Mark Gatiss Tim
Raj Ghatak Bank Collegue
Stephen Mangan Bank Manager
David Mark Bank Collegue
Steve Pemberton Duty Sergeant
Reece Shearsmith Porter
J.J. Toba Policeman 2
Nick Ingman Conductor

Technical Credits
Jez Butterworth Director,Screenwriter
Piers Thompson Director
Eric Abraham Producer
Robert Agganis Camera Operator
Robbie Austin Makeup
Bernard Bellew Production Manager
Andy Bennett Stunts
Caroline Bonham Production Manager
Steve Butterworth Producer
Tom Butterworth Screenwriter
Jina Jay Casting Casting
Ray De Haan Stunts
Phoebe Degaye Costumes/Costume Designer
Levan Doran Stunts
Adel Dunno Makeup
Dominic Freece Stunts
Julie Goldstein Executive Producer
Sy Hollands Stunts
Rebecca Holmes Art Director
Jina Jay Casting
Ashley Johnson Makeup
Carro Knott Makeup
Deb Lanser Makeup
Bob Last Musical Direction/Supervision
Colin Leventhal Executive Producer
Arabella Lockhart Set Decoration/Design
Graham Longhurst Special Effects Supervisor
Hugo Luczyc-Wyhowski Production Designer
Viv Mepham Makeup
Peter Miles Stunts
Jamie Millington Stunts
Trish Newton Makeup
Diana Phillips Producer
Sydney Pollack Executive Producer
Pride Studios Special Effects
Allon Reich Executive Producer
Verity Roberts Set Decoration/Design
Peter J. Robertson Cinematographer
Rick Schwartz Executive Producer
Oliver Stapleton Cinematographer
Christopher Tellefsen Editor
Diaan Wajon Art Director
Simone Wajon Makeup
Stephen Warbeck Score Composer
Noriko Watanabe Makeup
Paul Webster Executive Producer
Analie Whitfield Stunts
Paul Williams Makeup
Linda Wilson Set Decoration/Design

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Birthday Girl
1. Chapter 1 [8:59]
2. Chapter 2 [8:59]
3. Chapter 3 [9:00]
4. Chapter 4 [9:00]
5. Chapter 5 [8:59]
6. Chapter 6 [8:59]
7. Chapter 7 [9:00]
8. Chapter 8 [8:59]
9. Chapter 9 [9:00]
10. Chapter 10 [9:17]

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