Birthday Girl

  • Film
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When John (Chaplin), a St Albans bank clerk, decides to end his solitude by selecting a website mail order bride, he's not sure what to expect. Certainly it's not Nadia (Kidman), a raggedy chain-smoking beauty with no English - a contractual shortfall that persuades him to return her to Russia pronto. Easier said than done, when her undeniable sexual skills make him finally feel alive. Maybe it might work out after all? As he dithers, John's feelings deepen. But then Nadia's rowdy cousin (Kassovitz) and his pal (Cassel) turn up unannounced and - to John - unwelcome. Butterworth follows Mojo with a mostly enjoyable, if uneven mix of romantic comedy and thriller. We know where we'll end up, of course, and probably suspect that en route we may see a worm turn, but there are more than enough diverting twists on the journey to quicken the pulse. Chaplin is a bit of a hindrance, but the Frenchmen make surprisingly scary Russians, while Kidman is convincing and charismatic. Be it wish-fulfilment fantasy, cautionary tale or both, Birthday Girl never aims at or attains depth, but as unpretentious, spritely suspense comedy, it certainly succeeds.

Release details

Duration: 93 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Jez Butterworth
Screenwriter: Jez Butterworth, Tom Butterworth
Cast: Xander Armstrong
Ben Chaplin
Vincent Cassel
Kate Evans
Sally Phillips
Stephen Mangan
Nicole Kidman
Mathieu Kassovitz
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