Saturday, December 26, 2009
Hoping to recreate the magic of "Chicago", director Rob Marshall takes on the film adaption of the Broadway show, "Nine". Unfortunately, it lacks "all that jazz".
Daniel Day-Lewis is miscast as Guido Contini, the famous director who has lost his way while trying to make a new film. Mr. Day-Lewis is too good a dramatic actor to just brood or watch others perform from the sidelines. And as for his two musical numbers, well let's just say, stick to drama. The majority of the film is set on one incomplete sound stage where Guido is trying to start his new film and it's where most of the musical numbers take place. That alone makes things very repetitious and may have worked better if the songs were more memorable.
Mr. Marshall made "Chicago" work on screen by having the musical numbers play out in the actors minds. He utilizes the same technique here but the songs aren't as strong and the actors are just adequate performing them. The exceptions are Marion Cotillard and Penelope Cruz, who both shine above the rest of the cast. Ms. Cotillard is easily the best actress in the film, playing Guido's long suffering wife. Her singing and acting are terrific. Ms. Cruz does a great job as the mistress, Carla and does herself proud in her big, sexy musical number.
The rest of the "star" power fizzles. Judi Dench tries hard but shouldn't be doing musicals, Nicole Kidman has nothing to do but look pretty, and Kate Hudson has a fun number but is less than memorable. Sofia Loren adds some Italian authenticity as Mama and it is nice to see her on screen once again but she's not asked to do too much. Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson doesn't act but performs the most popular song "Be Italian" and it's one of the few musical highlights.
Skip "Nine" and rent "8 1/2", the original Italian film the musical is based on. It's a classic.