BIRTHDAY   GIRL     - A    Narada    Film Review

   NICOLE KIDMAN   
    as Nadia,
   
    BEN CHAPLIN       
    as John
     
    NICOLE KIDMAN   
    as Nadia,  and   
    VINCENT CASSELL as  
    Alexei
BIRTHDAY GIRL - Steve Butterworth -Producer,   Jez Butterworth -Director/Screenwriter

  Reviewed 14 Sep 2002       The inbred imaginations of Director Jez and Producer Steve Butterworth, and the perpetual dream of Jez to be able to successfully direct AND screenwrite one of his own movies tells heavily.   Alas, the Little God Syndrome repeated unsuccessfully yet another time.   When will Hollywood learn?
       Ben Chaplin is a convincing talent as an actor, often co-starring with prominent leading ladies --Sandra Bullock in Murder By Numbers, and Michele Yeoh in The Touch, to name a couple.    This time he's paired with Nicole Kidman in BIRTHDAY GIRL.    Now all he has to do is star in a decent movie, for a change.
       BIRTHDAY GIRL is a movie where the protagonist, Ben Chaplin, is set upon by those who would take ultimate advantage of him for their own ends.   Plot-wise, nothing wrong with that, but when a person is obviously an intelligent sort, but too timid to do anything about it, the audience soon looses every vestige of sympathy for him.    By the time BIRTHDAY GIRL finally develops a tangible thread of action, the viewer is irked to the point of no longer caring.    It also needs to be said that this viewer finds it exceedingly objectionable that this English film has employed a now 'Haggard Hollywoodism' - that it's somehow 'OK' for the thief to "get away with it" as long as he is a likeable sort - (see Ocean's Eleven & Bandits to name but a few).
       I am not implying that BIRTHDAY GIRL is dead guilty of flogging off stereotypes on the viewing public.    Its just coincidence that we have another movie where the two Russian characters are named "Nadia" and "Alexei".   Please, guys....
        LEAST Enduring Line Or Phrase:   "You'll all have to leave..."

2002, Bangkok Eyes / bangkokeyes.com

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