Nine: 7, 8, Nine…and Got a Stomach Ache

5 01 2010

Rob Marshall’s Nine is getting a lot of buzz…an astounding, all-star cast, five Golden Globe nominations (including Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy) and Marshall’s first movie-musical since the Academy Award-winning Chicago.  Here’s the breakdown:

Guido (Daniel Day-Lewis) is a famous Italian film director working on his latest movie…without a script.  Along the way he struggles to save his marriage with Lili (Marion Cotillard) while maintaining a relationship with his mistress (Penelope Cruz); he gets sage advice from his long-time costume designer (Judi Dench); he tries to please his leading actress (Nicole Kidman), answers questions from an American reporter (Kate Hudson) and struggles with psycho-sexual flashbacks to a prostitute (Fergie) and his mother (Sophia Loren). Whew.

The Monkey: The music is the best part.  All the performances are fun to watch and all the actresses sing their little hearts out.  Judi Dench is always a pleasure to watch, in any role she’s in.  It was nice to see Nicole Kidman singing again (Moulin Rouge is one of her best films).  Penelope Cruz played the simpering mistress with the necessary amount of pout and her song, “A Call from the Vatican” elicited laughs.  Kate Hudson shook her booty in a sequined dress and looked good doing it.  But the real star of Nine…Fergie.  You heard me…that bi-curious, ex-meth-head from the Black-Eyed Peas.  Her performance as Saraghina (a prostitute from Guido’s childhood) stole the show.  She has no speaking lines, only a smoldering stare and a killer song (“Be Italian”).  Not only was the singing far superior to the other performances, the number was choreographed with a striking visual style that the rest of the movie was lacking.  And from a story stand-point, her brief appearance shed more light on Guido’s character than any other part of the movie.

The Weasel: The plot.  There really wasn’t one.  A director has no script for his movie and cheats on his wife…hmm.  While Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance was convincing, it was almost too convincing…he was an unlikable adulterer who couldn’t get his act together.  Lacking a likable protagonist, the movie fell apart.  The song interludes felt more like a cabaret show than a coherent story.  Marion Cotillard has a stunning voice, but her two songs were buried in horrible staging and confusing choreography.  Many of the songs were forgettable (which is sad, because most of the actresses only had one song), and in a musical, forgetting the songs leads to forgetting the movie.

Watch it for the music, watch it for Fergie.  Better yet, watch Fergie’s performance on YouTube and buy the soundtrack.  I’m baffled that Nine has been nominated for so many Golden Globes…I guess we’ll see what the Academy has to say about it.

2 Death Stars out of 5

What did you think?  What was your favorite song?  Do you think Nine deserves all its award nominations?  Tell me what you liked and didn’t like about Nine in the comments!

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2 responses

5 01 2010
Cal

I hated Nine! You are right about Fergie being the only thing worth watching in this movie. This is a movie musical and the only number that had any essence of musical theatre was “Be Italian”. Amazing stage choreography and a brilliant performance from Fergie. Other than that, a worthless movie. The rest of the girls couldn’t really sing and thier acting presence changed from award winning to just plain retarded. Some actresses are not meant to sing…or lip-sync.

6 01 2010
Nicole

It’s sad that so much was left out of this movie that is in the original B’way production because it would have made much more sense…and I agree with Cal…some actors (Daniel Day-Lewis) are not meant to sing, but BRA-f*cking-VO to Fergie, who I was most apprehensive to see in this movie, for her brilliant performance, and a shout out to the choreographers, who are listed as Rob Marsall and someone else, but let’s be real, I’m sure the majority was done by the “associate choreographers”. And Kate Hudson shook her booty off in Cinema Italiano, and Penelope did some cute things with “Call from the Vatican”. I would watch Be Italian over and over and think Fergie should have been nominated over Cotillard, hands down (can we get a “Featured Actress” category already?? My head immediately goes to the old lady in Titanic and her oscar nomination…)

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