Star-studded “Nine,” with Penelope Cruz, spins its way to DVD

By Sean O’Connell stays on top of the latest DVD and Blu-ray releases so you know which films are worth your time and money. This week, we review:

“Nine” was supposed to be an Oscar contender. Rob Marshall, who had piloted “Chicago” to six Oscar wins including Best Picture, took over the musical adaptation of the Broadway smash, itself adapted from Federico Fellini’s masterful “8 1/2.” And that cast! Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Fergie, Daniel Day-Lewis, Judi Dench and Marion Cotillard all lining up to sing and dance through Marshall’s sure-to-be-splashy production. With the Best Picture race expanding to 10 films, “Nine” was guaranteed a sllot at the dinner table, right?

Wrong. As it turns out, Marshall’s schizophrenic film was done in by its obnoxious musical numbers, and that star-studded struggled to hit the right notes … bad news for a musical. The whole production grinds to a halt every time the cast members open their mouths to sing.

The usually brilliant Daniel Day-Lewis is woefully miscast as Guido, an Italian director searching for material for his next film. His muses are played by Kidman, Dench, Cotillard and Hudson, to name a few. But “Nine” suffers horrifically discordant tunes that dwell on Lewis’ vapidly insecure lead character. The whole picture struggles to get off the ground when it was expected to soar.

Sony handles DVD distribution for The Weinstein Company and hands “Nine” a decent home video package. Marshall and producer John DeLuca contribute an informative blow-by-blow commentary track. The DVD also includes eight behind-the-scenes featurettes (not nine?!) that touch on Day-Lewis’s performance, the women of the cast, the film’s choreography and more. The set concludes with music videos for “Cinema Italiano,” “”Take It All,” and “Unusual Way.”

The movie — *1/2 out of 4
The DVD — **1/2 out of 4

About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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