One of those train wrecks that actors who should know better inexplicably join, David Beaird’s “The Civilization of Maxwell Bright” takes a loudmouthed, abusive jerk through the ringer with a Chinese mail-order bride. Beyond pondering what the likes of fine thesps like Simon Callow, John Glover, Carol Kane and Kurt Fuller are doing here, auds are left to debate which is worse — a virtually unwatchable first act with Patrick Warburton’s boorish Maxwell on a tear, or pic’s painful, Western-slanted depiction of Asian “purity” in the guise of Marie Matiko’s bride. The ever-productive Beaird has yet another commercial non-starter.
After another awful break-up, Maxwell has decided all women can go to hell and beyond, and he makes sure everyone knows his caveman opinions. Sold on a mail-order bride by a Brit broker (Callow, who actually takes things seriously), Maxwell tries to adjust to Mai Ling (Matiko), whose Buddhist inner peace provides relief when Maxwell comes down with cancer. Warburton, to put it mildly, can’t muster the wild transitions, and Matiko is encouraged to play an Asian stereotype of the sort not seen on U.S. screens in at least three decades.