John Buckingham (Ben Chaplain) leads a rather dull life after ten years as a bank clerk in a London suburb. Not having much luck meeting girls on his own, John turns to the Internet and shops the new millennium version of the mail order bride from the ‘From Russia With Love’ website.
John Buckingham (Ben Chaplin) leads a rather dull life after ten years as a bank clerk in a London suburb. Not having much luck meeting girls on his own, John turns to the Internet and shops the new millennium version of the ‘mail order’ bride from the ‘From Russia With Love’ website. But what you order isn’t always what your get. Despite the advertisement, Nadia (Nicole Kidman) arrives from Moscow unable to speak English, which sends John seeking a refund. But when she finds John’s stack of pornography and communicates her desire to please well enough, he changes his mind about a refund. However, on her birthday, Nadia’s ‘cousins’ arrive and turn John’s well-ordered life upside down and onto a path of crime. And there’s more to Nadia than meets the eye.
This mix of romantic comedy and crime thriller shifts gears rather abruptly and never quite gets up to speed, but Kidman and Chaplin avoid complete audience disappointment. Without much lead up, the story jumps into Nadia’s arrival and into setting up house with John. Although she comes with a wedding band for John, no ceremony, civil or religious occurs. Prior to finding John’s pornography collection, Nadia enters his bedroom in a nightgown and, after putting his hand on her breast, begins to stimulate him with hers. The pornography find leads to scenes implying sexual bondage and include female nudity. Violence is largely limited to slaps and shoving, although a couple of knife threats occur and John knocks a man out with a guitar to the head. Nadia chain smokes and her cousins swill vodka from the bottle. Their English includes strong obscenities and John airs several profanities. Although John’s bank gives its employees ‘trust’ exercises, strong sexual content and foul language give “Birthday Girl” little to celebrate.