The Best view | Nine – Dan’s the wrong man for musical fantasy bump’n’grind

Nine - Womanising director Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis) faces temptation from US journalist Stephanie (Kate Hudson) in the romantic musical

What went wrong with Nine?

On paper, this glossy musical looked a sure-fire hit.

This time, however, these expensive ingredients have produced a dud – which must have been galling for producer Harvey Weinstein, who was surely expecting a shelf-load of gongs and ticket receipts to match.

Harvey, I feel your pain. All the more so since I adore Fellini’s original film and loved Maury Yeston’s stage version when it played at the Donmar Warehouse in 1996 with Larry Lamb in the lead.

Nine - Famous director Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis) has  trouble juggling his mistress Carla (Penélope Cruz) & wife Luisa  (Marion Cotillard) in this romantic musical

Dan’s the man this time. He’s womanising, world-famous film director Guido Contini, preparing to shoot his latest film in Rome in 1965 but stricken with creative block as he tries to juggle the many women in his life – including long-suffering wife Luisa (Cotillard), volatile mistress Carla (Cruz) and movie star muse Claudia (Kidman). Tottering on the verge of a nervous breakdown, he finds his fantasy life blurring with reality.

In 8½, Marcello Mastroianni  – clearly Fellini’s flattering alter ego – oozed mischief and fun in the role, notwithstanding his character’s neuroses. Day-Lewis, over-egging the angst as well as the Eye-talian accent, is charmless and insufferable.

But the person you really want to slap is Marshall, whose brash directing style – ideal for the brazen Chicago – simply doesn’t suit Nine’s more whimsical charms.

Released on DVD & Blu-ray by Entertainment in Video.

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