How can a movie starring six Academy Award-winning actors be such a bore?
With “Nine,” the director of “Chicago” manages this feat. But whatever blame one might be tempted to lay on
the fault, it seems to me, lies in the play. If you’ve ever seen this
navel-gazing stage musical inspired by Fellini’s navel gazing
filmmaker-in-crisis film, “8 1/2,” you know this was would be tough
Casting mostly non-singers to do the clever but forgettable songs doesn’t help – even if they are
Guido (Day-Lewis) is a filmmaking legend 10 days away from shooting the
movie he hopes will end a run of flops. But he has no script. He is
blocked. He can be cryptic and playful at press conferences, But only
an escape to a distant spa will help — except for the fact that his
troubles chase him there.
His wife (Cotillard, of “La Vie en Rose”) used to be his muse. His dim-but-sexy mistress (
“The world sees
So much stress, so many women tugging at his suave
coat sleeves. He complains to the ghost of his dead mama (Loren), to
his producer, to a priest and even a cardinal.
And he sings. Not a great idea, even for one of the screen’s great actors.
Thank God for Fergie. The sultry siren plays the
small-town floozie who exposed young Guido to the mysteries of female
flesh (in a flashback), and she flat out tears up the show-stopper “Be
Italian.” Dench acquits herself well in a
memory song, “Folies Bergere.” Cruz vamps temptingly, Hudson rips up a
go-go number (“Cinema Italiano”) and Kidman doesn’t embarrass herself
on a ballad.
But the women are here to wear bustiers and pose,
with only rare moments suggesting each one’s humanity. Day-Lewis smokes
a lot, looks good in retro sunglasses and suits. He makes little
impression beyond the first one.
There’s little humor, no heart and precious little
“angst” to his predicament — luring and using women. But then, nobody
will be crying at “
2 stars (out of 4)
Running time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Industry rating: PG-13 for sexual content and smoking
Roger Moore writes for the Orlando Sentinel. Via McClatchy-Tribune News Service.