Raw, adjective: 5. crude in quality or character; not tempered or refined by art or taste

Wow. Nine is really not good.

Rob Marshall's latest hit theaters circa Christmas, and I lost 2 hours to it the other day. The film's seriously lacking. Even this musical apologist almost walked out. That bad.

Mediocre music, cringe-worthy lyrics. Uninspired choreography. Costuming rip-offs. A wooden Nicole Kidman. (Where's the joie de vivre?) A miscast Kate Hudson. (Her number was uncomfortable to watch. Embarrassing.) A gorgeously-tousled Penelope Cruz in a lackluster role; a wasted Sophia Loren (how can you waste Sophia Loren?!?); a bizarro Fergie stomping around on a chair; an out-of-place, bobbed Judi Dench.

Daniel Day-Lewis wasn't so awful, really, playing his own slouching, smoking, tortured-genius-Mastrioanni caricature, and Marion Cotillard was melancholically beautiful in her one-note, long-suffering wife role. But Maury Yeston's songs really left something to be desired; the ear's quota for hearing "Guid-o" sung over and over is unsurprisingly low.

Such potential for a smart and sexy piece of art, a reflection on creativity and restlessness and sex and monogamy. (Especially given its Fellini source material - not to mention fantastic Roman settings.) Squandered. I really wanted to like this film. I wonder if anyone actually did?


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