'Nine' centers on Guido's inability to start his next film (he's suffering from 'directile dysfunction,' as Variety quips) and his subsequent fantasies starring all the women in his life, past and present, including his wife (Marion Cotillard), mother (Sophia Loren), mistress (Penelope Cruz), main muse (Nicole Kidman), costume designer (Judi Dench), a reporter (Kate Hudson) and a hooker from his childhood (Fergie). Though some reviewers appreciated the big, show-stopping numbers, talented (and ultra-hot) actresses, and Day-Lewis' transformation into a brooding Italian, many were left cold by the frenetic proceedings. See what they had to say after the jump. A film based on a stage musical based on a film (not unlike 'The Producers'), 'Nine' isn't getting a lot of amore from most critics. It was certainly a promising proposition: Director/choreographer Rob Marshall -- who helmed the smash 'Chicago'-- takes the acclaimed Broadway musical based on the 1963 Fellini classic '8½,' adds a screenplay by Anthony Minghella and Michael Tolkin, and casts Daniel-Day Lewis as the film's protagonist, Italian film director Guido Contini, amid a bevy of A-list female stars.
'Nine' centers on Guido's inability to start his next film (he's suffering from 'directile dysfunction,' as Variety quips) and his subsequent fantasies starring all the women in his life, past and present, including his wife (Marion Cotillard), mother (Sophia Loren), mistress (Penelope Cruz), main muse (Nicole Kidman), costume designer (Judi Dench), a reporter (Kate Hudson) and a hooker from his childhood (Fergie). Though some reviewers appreciated the big, show-stopping numbers, talented (and ultra-hot) actresses, and Day-Lewis' transformation into a brooding Italian, many were left cold by the frenetic proceedings. Here's what they had to say ...
The New Yorker: "You wonder where the lyrics went, but, as the rest of 'Nine' makes clear, you're not missing much. Rob Marshall's film is based on the stage production of the same name, and I can't say that I am racked with regret at having skipped it. There are big numbers aplenty-all the actresses get one apiece, apart from Cotillard, who gets two-and most of them are belted out with growls and gusto (Fergie being the belter-in-chief), but I woke up the next morning, as I did after Marshall's previous choice of musical, 'Chicago,' without a single tune or phrase still tolling in my head."
Rolling Stone: "Rob Marshall's flawed but frequently dazzling 'Nine' is a hot-blooded musical fantasia full of song, dance, raging emotion and simmering sexuality. We get to watch British acting dynamo Daniel Day-Lewis be Italian as Guido Contini, a genius director of the swinging Sixties (ciao, Federico Fellini) struggling to put the movie in his head up on the screen. "
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More 'Nine' reviews from RottenTomatoes
Entertainment Weekly: "If only the lyrics weren't so awful! Cotillard, a lovely presence, is martyred by having to sing such gems as 'My husband makes movies/To make them he lives a kind of dream/In which his actions aren't always what they seem!' No wonder Day-Lewis looks like he's having stomach trouble. He spends most of 'Nine' as a haunted spectator, and you want to tell the guy to lighten up. The movie Guido is trying to dream doesn't look like much fun, and neither is 'Nine.'
New York Observer: "The characters strut and screech and shake their butts in a sexual faux frenzy, but remain as one-dimensional as cardboard. They knock themselves out cold, but it's like a greatest-hits assembly of pop tunes and dirty dancing from floor shows in Atlantic City, inserted to make you forget that nothing else is going on. 'Nine' is giddy, empty-headed and loud, but it never manages to prevent the audience from snoring. It's a musical train wreck."
Variety: "But given its heritage and the profession of the central character, the musical has found its proper place on the bigscreen, along with a cast that could scarcely be bettered. Not only can they act, but Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson and Sophia Loren can sing. Why didn't anyone know? As one, the cast would undoubtedly respond, 'Because no one ever asked.'"
The Hollywood Reporter: "Nicole Kidman as Guido's 'muse' and Kate Hudson as an on-the-make American journalist get to do little. Judi Dench is wonderful and wise as Guido's costume designer-cum-therapist and, fortunately, is not asked to do much in terms of singing and dancing. Fergie is kind of fun as a childhood fantasy of sexuality -- in the original film, the whore is fat and slovenly. Cruz and Cotillard get real characters to play, but they're the stuff of bad soap opera. Then there's Day-Lewis. He is an incredibly sexy man and performs all the right moves. The problem is, he keeps performing those same moves over and over, so one experiences not so much artistic angst but a guy trying to sober up from a two-week binge. Sporting a scruffy beard and running a hand through long hair only goes so far."
Village Voice: "There's no city-clogging traffic jam in 'Nine,' the musicalized version of Federico Fellini's movie-about-moviemaking urtext '8½,' but the result feels like the celluloid equivalent of a 12-car pileup. An assault on the senses from every conceivable direction -- smash zooms, the ear-splitting eruption of something like music, the spectacle of a creature called Kate -- Hudson -- 'Nine' thrashes about in search of 'cinema' the way a child thrown into the deep end of a pool flails for a flotation device."
Associated Press: "Though the musical numbers are grandly staged and delivered with earnest, the songs are not all that memorable -- including three new ones written expressly for the film version. The crises of a filmmaker -- pampered and fawned over by everyone he encounters, with a beautiful wife, a knockout mistress and other gorgeous women lining up to sleep with him -- comes off as trifling. It's hard to care about this guy's little bout of writer's block when he's got it all and then some in his personal and professional lives."