Movie Review - 'Nine' - Creatively Blocked, But Putting On A Show Fresh out of ideas for his new film, a famous director turns to his muses — his wife, a mistress, a movie star and more — for inspiration. Rob Marshall's splashy adaptation has all the razzle-dazzle display of its musical-theater roots, but as each woman takes her turn in the costume parade, the plot's thinness becomes increasingly apparent, and Nine begins to feel less like a show than a showcase.
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'Nine': Creatively Blocked, But Still Putting On A Show

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'Nine': Creatively Blocked, But Still Putting On A Show

Review

Movies

'Nine': Creatively Blocked, But Still Putting On A Show

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MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

Marshall's new film, "Nine," is also a musical. Yesterday on the program, Robert spoke with its star, Daniel Day-Lewis, and today, our critic Bob Mondello has a review.

BOB MONDELLO: Well, if you're Guido Contini, you sit in a huge, empty movie studio, and you imagine scenes that could get you started, exquisitely beautiful scenes involving the women in your life: your mistress, the prostitute who lived at the beach when you were 10 years old, the star of your last movie. And as you picture them on that soundstage, they materialize because, after all, this is what you do.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "NINE")

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONDELLO: Movies work a little differently, though, and on screen, while it's eye- popping, it's not taking us anywhere for almost five minutes. And as Guido, played by Daniel Day Lewis imagines the women more fully, their songs don't take us anywhere, either. Wife Marion Cotillard, for instance, singing about what it's like to be married to a man who makes movies.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "NINE")

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MARION COTILLARD: (As Luisa Contini) (Singing) Some men run banks. Some rule the world. Some earn their living making bread. My husband, he goes a little crazy making movies instead.

MONDELLO: Her husband goes crazy making movies. She's telling us something we already know, and so are the rest of the women in Guido's life: Nicole Kidman as his leading lady.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "NINE")

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

NICOLE KIDMAN: (As Claudia) (Singing) In a very unusual way, I think I'm in love with you.

MONDELLO: And Sophia Loren as Guido's stately mom.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "NINE")

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SOPHIA LOREN: (As Mamma) (Singing) When you're dreaming blissfully...

MONDELLO: And Penelope Cruz as Guido's trashy mistress.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "NINE")

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

PENELOPE CRUZ: (As Carla) (Singing) Who's not wearing any clothes? I'm not. My darling...

MONDELLO: As you can hear, everyone can at least sort of sing and there's one character who can really belt: pop vocalist Fergie as a faintly ferocious prostitute who wows the 10-year-old Guido and his buddies at the beach.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "NINE")

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

STACY FERGUSON: (As Saraghina) (Singing) So you little Italian beggars, you want to know about love? Saraghina will tell you.

MONDELLO: He starts with Guido's memories in black and white - a child thrilled by that busty girl at the beach. Then, he jumps back and forth between those memories and the musical number that's coming together in Guido's head. The girl flaunts her cleavage in black and white, the chorus stylizes that move in color. The kids splash in the surf, the chorus kicks up sand on the soundstage. And in the process, you see how a director can make his memories memorable.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "NINE")

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

FERGUSON: (As Saraghina) (Singing) Be a singer. Be a lover. Pick the flower now...

MONDELLO: I'm Bob Mondello.

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