Thursday, December 31, 2009

Nine (*1/2)

Nine. 110 mins. PG-13. Directed by Rob Marshall. Written by Michael Tolkin and Anthony Minghella. Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Judi Dench, Kate Hudson, and Sophia Loren.

The new musical Nine boasts an all-star, oft-nominated cast, an Oscar-nominated director (Chicago's Rob Marshall), glitzy production values, and revered source material (Fellini's 8 1/2), and...I couldn't care less about any of it. Trying to recreate the critical and commercial success of Chicago proves too difficult for Marshall and his collaborators, especially when the script is so obtuse and unfocused, and the music so blah and unmemorable. Most directors would kill to work with this cast, but it's rare indeed when actors as distinguished and respectable as Daniel Day-Lewis come off looking this bad. DDL stars as Guido, a film director struggling to come up with a script for his next film that's days away from start of production. His main problem? All the women in his life, from his mom (Sophia Loren) to his childhood fantasy (Fergie) to his wife (Marion Cotillard) to his mistress (Penelope Cruz). Needless to say, Guido gets around. But who in the audience can relate to this guy? And why should we care? The filmmakers clearly don't know the answer, hoping the audience will just get swept away by the fashion, splashy song and dance numbers, and sex appeal of the cast. While that may be true for about ten minutes, Nine runs about two hours long, and it meanders most of the time. I'm sure everyone involved had awards on the mind when they made the movie. If there's any justice in the world, those dreams will be dashed, and Nine will soon be forgotten.

- John


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