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Review: Nine

Rob Marshall continues his assault on good taste
By PETER KEOUGH  |  December 22, 2009
0.0 0.0 Stars

 

It doesn't get much farther from human experience than this: an adaptation of a Broadway production adapting a film (8-1/2) about a filmmaker who imagines making a film. Such relentless solipsism I can live with, but not when it's directed by Rob Marshall.

What Svengali effect does this man have over top-of-the-line actors that lures them into such assaults on good taste? That includes Daniel Day Lewis, perhaps the Olivier of his generation, but helpless before the affected cliché that is Fellini-manqué Guido Contini (isn't that a brand of tomato paste?), whose visions of a self-reflective cinema masterpiece look like outtakes from Chicago. Or Penélope Cruz, playing Guido's mistress and trying to act sexy in a costume that seems fashioned in part from a pair of Depends. Or a score that makes Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel sound like Mozart.

True, Fellini had a weakness for kitsch, but his genius transcended it. Marshall's talent is in turning that genius back into kitsch.

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