February 1, 2002
Nicole Kidman, fresh off the success of the sleeper hits Moulin Rouge and The Others, has signed on to star in this movie. She will portray a Russian mail-order bride who makes her matrimonial arrangements over the Internet. Your first conclusion might be that this is a romantic comedy, but this is not the case at all. Once she arrives, her husband begins to fear that his life is in peril. If the plot sounds familiar, you are probably reminded of the recent Angelina Jolie/Antonio Banderas film, Original Sin, which has a similar theme though a different historical setting.
The role of groom-in-danger will be played by Ben Chaplin of The Truth About Cats and Dogs fame. His performance in that film had many speculating he was on the road to stardo,m but he has only taken three roles in the five years since its release. In 2002, he will be afforded the opportunity to prove his apologists correct as he will also play the love interest of Sandra Bullock in another huge 2002 release, Murder by Numbers. All he needs is to get in the next Julia Roberts movie to run the table of the Hollywood actress A-list.
Birthday Girl will be helmed by Jez Butterworth, a first-time director in the studio system, though he did do one small project in his native England entitled Mojo. The movie he is creating does not have a unique idea, but it does have engaging stars, one of whom, Kidman, is a proven box-office draw. With the Miramax marketing arm firmly behind her as they were with The Others, we can expect the movie to find success at the box office. (David Mumpower/BOP)
January 29, 2002
Floating in the "not quite big/not quite small" release pattern, this Nicole Kidman vehicle has been receiving little to no marketing from its studio. While the major markets have been receiving a mild yet steady exposure to this UK flick, most of North America does not even know that this film exists. Unfortunately for the film, the part of NA that is getting the media exposure is wishing that it didn't exist at all.
Nicole Kidman might be one of the hottest actresses around, having spent most of last year in the public eye, for bad or for good. The current Oscar buzz around both of her performances from last year, Moulin Rouge and The Others, is picking up momentum and yet this film will likely not be able to capitalize on Kidman's white hot status. Her role seems as far away from appealing as it possibly can be and the premise of the film seems very unlikely for any sort of future Oscar contention.
With the market current packed with new films, it'll be interesting to see where Birthday Girl falls in especially considering its unfriendly tone and non-mainstream nature. However well the film does, its success can be attributed to Kidman, who is the only bright spot to what will surely be a forgettable release. (Walid Habboub/BOP)
Comparison films for Birthday Girl
|Eyes Wide Shut
|Truth about Cats and Dogs, The
|To Die For