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The Civilization of Maxwell Bright
The Civilization of Maxwell Bright
Actors: Nora Dunn, John Glover, Carol Kane, Jennifer Tilly, Patrick Warburton
Directors: David Beaird, Steven J. Wolfe
Genres: Drama
R     2008     1hr 48min

Patrick Warburton (TV's Less Than Perfect and Seinfeld) is Max Bright, a male chauvinist who's tired of relationships with strong-willed, independent women. Max's solution: shell out big bucks for an Asian mail order bride...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Nora Dunn, John Glover, Carol Kane, Jennifer Tilly, Patrick Warburton
Directors: David Beaird, Steven J. Wolfe
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Drama
Studio: Image Entertainment
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 03/11/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2005
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 48min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Starts off a little rough, but evolves into a sensitive, mov
The Jaundiced Eye | Texas, USA | 08/30/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I picked this DVD largely for very shallow reasons.....the cover picture. I like Patrick Warburton from his Seinfeld appearances and was curious about his attractive co-star. The first fifteen minutes, however, left me wondering about the wisdom of my choice and that of Mr. Warburton. In amateurish, hand-held porno-grade video, our man Patrick (alias Maxwell Bright), completely naked for all to see, is depicted having a profane, physically violent altercation with his similarly (un)attired girlfriend on a public street. Bystanders, police, and the audience are all left gaping at the spectacle, while Pat/Max, spouting some seriously politically-incorrect epithets at everyone involved, is finally silenced by his disgusted, hoe-swinging girlfriend. As my wife eyed me from across the room, contemplating what punishment I should face for picking this train wreck, we both considered pushing the STOP button on the DVD player and calling it a night. I am glad we didn't.

What emerged over the next hour and a half was a plausible portrayal of the conversion of wildman Maxwell into a peaceful, sensitive human being. Step one is his seemingly foolish idea of "buying" a young, compliant mail-order Asian bride. Ideally, one who will provide all the services that he has been denied by the selfish, manipulative (his words, not mine) American women with whom he has suffered over the years. His needs are shallow and predictable, much like the juvenile dreams of a spoiled college boy: a live-in maid/prostitute who will service him physically and appreciatively, cook and serve meals, and then clean up afterwards....the Cro Magnon man's dream come true.

What he gets is exactly what he wanted, and a whole lot more, in the person of lovely Mai Tang (played to perfection by Marie Matiko). Watching her gradually win his respect, trust, and love is both entertaining and moving, but most importantly, at all times plausible. This requires exceptional writing/dialog and equally exceptional acting on the parts of the lead characters and the splendid supporting cast. Eric Roberts is a standout in this regard, delivering (in my opinion) his finest performance since Runaway Train.

I strongly recommend this movie to all adults who will appreciate a low budget, high quality production with unique dialog, ideas, performances, and a surprising warmpth of spirit and character. Granted, the first few minutes are harsh, but necessary to the overall plot. This is one of the best independent OR high-budget studio films I have seen in years. Give it a try."
The Civilization of Maxwell Bright - Perhaps The Most Surpri
Mark | East Coast | 08/14/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The Civilization of Maxwell Bright has the grainy appearance of low budget filming and a story that seems tailor made for Lifetime Television or late night Cinemax. So it's only natural to think that the bare bones production probably produced an unimpressive movie. And yet, I found this movie to be engaging and powerful.

The story does not break familiar ground. All the clichés under the sun are here. An over-aggressive type A American man thinks the cure to his woman problems will be a submissive Asian woman. The Maxwell character will remind you of dozens of disgruntled controlling men portrayed in many movies. They don't hide from the cliches; in fact they embrace them. All sorts of taboos are touched upon here: sex, religion, and displays of polical incorrectness that will make you laugh and cringe from one moment to the next.

But the way the story unfolds feels so real that I have a hard time not believing that this is based on true events. I know nothing of the background regarding this movie or where this story originated from. The credits list one writer director, which is a formula that rarely yields top-notch work. All I can tell you is that it is very easy to find surface level imperfections in this movie but once you go beneath the surface it is one of the most beautifully moving stories I have seen told on film in years.

The acting in this movie is very well done, and the casting ranges from effective to incredible. This is a rare case in that I cannot comment on this DVD transfer. Most of my movie watching is done with DVDs, but in this case I saw this movie elsewhere. I hope that Image did a good job in producing this disk because this movie deserves it.

It's difficult to discuss this movie without giving away plot details best observed with fresh eyes. Similarly, it's difficult to think of this story and not get a little philosophical about life and all of the baggage that stops us from truly living it. This movie has caused this very skeptical person to set aside his analysis and really try to understand the story for what it is. And what it is is a story that takes our faults and makes them funny and painful, ugly and beautiful all at once.

This movie is highly recommended. I may literally buy extra copies to give as gifts this year.

See this for yourself and I hope this story resonates with you like it did within me.

The Leopard Changes His Spots
Major Tom 58 | Philadelphia, PA | 08/09/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is a very affecting film. Patrick Warburton is almost type cast as the loud mouth bigoted Maxwell Bright, a bully and oaf of the highest order. He orders a wife from China through a friend. His new wife is everything any man could hope for in a partner. Yet he bullies and mistreats her in demeaning and unnecessary ways [which can be expected of the character]. However, unforseen changes in fortune do civilize Max, indeed. This is not a perfect film, but it will surprise you. There are some maudlin touches [a love song near the end--completely unneeded], and a good supporting cast. Marie Matiko is fine, if not completely convincing, as the mail order bride who seems to know both too little and too much English for her part; but her acting skills and ability to reach a viewer emotionally are apparent. Simon Callow is appropriately weird but forceful as the marriage broker.

This is a fine movie, with a surprising end. Max's character makes it a little difficult to sit through it to the end--but it's worth it. Favorite lines in the movie- Q: "Do you deliver caskets?" A: "We do now.""
A Surprising, Deeply Touching Movie
M. Carroll | IL | 01/14/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I bought this movie on the blind recommendation of a blogger acquaintance, since it wasn't available for rental. At first, I didn't know what to think as I was expecting a typical romantic comedy with an arranged marriage twist. The first few minutes unfold like a crazy episode of Californication, with a naked Patrick Walburton running from his equally nude girlfriend, fighting in the streets over their sex life. I thought my husband would laugh at some of the crass, mancentric humor, sure it would hold his interest. But quickly, I learned that behind the grainy, reality show footage were complicated characters and an unconventional, surprising plot. The story left me moved to tears, the acting genuine and flawless, the plot humbling. There were moments where I wished Eric Roberts wasn't in such a stereotypical southern accent character role, but he gives a perfomance that touches deep in the heart. Patrick Walburton is a revelation as well, and I was surprised at the extent of his character's beligerance and ignorance and anger, and the acceptance and dignity he found through his wife's love, and embracing Buddhism. Despite some less believable plot twists, or over the top moments, I enjoyed the movie and the story very much, and I'm glad I bought it so I can watch it whenever I'm struggling with how to live or how to help someone I love die. I can understand why it's such a sleeper, as it is very hard to categorize, and very realistic in its depiction of one possible ending from cancer, but I highly recommend renting or buying it, and sharing it with your friends."