Director: Rob Marshall
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz
Judi Dench, Nicole Kidman, Fergie Duhamel, Sophia Loren, Kate Hudson
I get a little nervous when I see a cast like this. Some of the actors are excellent, like Day-Lewis & Cotillard. And some are not so much, like Hudson & Fergie. But talent sometimes doesn't even matter when you throw a thousand stars into a pot & stir. Sometimes the product is awful regardless of the talent because it's just too much, there's too many pieces and all they can do is flounder around in what is usually a flaw-ridden film. Rob Marshall, the director, also made me nervous since I hated Chicago so much and was afraid this movie would be an exact copy. And it was, to some extent, but it's a film version of a play so he had only so much poetic license. Anyway, I was worried I wouldn't end up liking this movie. I did, but only just.
Guido, Guido, Guido; the story is all about Guido. He is a famous director whose last movies have been flops and he's trying to make a comeback. The problem is, production on the movie is beginning but he still has no idea what to make it about. It doesn't help that his life is a mess. His wife, Luisa, knows he's been unfaithful. His mistress, Carla, is always in the back of his mind. His muse, Claudia, serves as the inspiration for his films. His costume designer, Lilli, is the only friend he's got. And his mother is always with him in spirit, reminding him of his youth and the boy that is trapped inside the man. In order to resurrect his career, Guido must confront all of these women, as they are his goddesses, his demons, and his reason for living.
There were too many things wrong with this movie for it to be great. First, the story does have a Chicago feel, especially at the beginning, which might get some women on board. But there is a very overt sexual tone throughout the film, showing women in alluring outfits, singing about their bodies, having affairs. So while the style might attract women & the content might attract men, I don't see either sex falling in love with this movie. The next problem was the singing. The actors did their own songs, and that wasn't a good thing. The music itself was bad, and then it was badly sung by Dench, Fergie, Loren, Cruz, Hudson, and even Day-Lewis. You can't have a musical with forgettable songs & bad singers.
Now, Cotillard & Kidman were actually quite good, both singing and acting. And of course Day-Lewis brought his A-game as he always does, despite a weird Italian accent. So the scenes between he & the two women were nice; well done & believable. Most of that and the rest of the drama happened during the second half, so I would definitely say the first half was bad & the second saved the day. Because it didn't end up being a horrible movie. It just felt amateur, like having Kate Hudson do a song & dance number. And then Fergie, and then Cruz, and then Loren. It was just too little talent in too much of the movie. But when the movie settled down & the story got deeper I was drawn back in and found myself enjoying the experience. So I guess my rating will reflect my combined feelings; half the movie stunk, half was excellent, leaving me right in the middle.
My rating: ✰ ✰ ✰
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