Mail Order Wife

Rated R 2005

The acting is good. The editing is deft. And the script slices through its characters' hypocrisies and desperate need. So why is Mail Order Wife, a film chronicling one man's attempt to marry a woman from a catalog, such a bad movie? Two words: fake documentary. "Documentary filmmaker" Andrew (Andrew Gurland) decides to film Adrian Martin (Adrian Martinez), a dense oaf in Queens who wants a mail-order bride. Adrian selects a young Burmese woman named Lichi (Eugenia Yuan) and flies her to the United States to begin what amounts to servitude. Later, he tries to trick her into a tubal ligation and forces her to make sex videos. She flees to Andrew's home, where she is further abused, only with the veneer of propriety. Sound funny? Mail Order Wife seems to want to say something about the men who order brides and, perhaps, those who film them. But by creating a painful stream of miserable behavior, it succeeds in nothing more than pointing to its own perversity of spirit.

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