Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor play star-crossed lovers at the famed Paris nightclub. Despite a nice beginning, director Baz Luhrmann’s attempt to resurrect the screen musical only buries it deeper—mangled by wild, choppy editing and smothered in belle époque
kitsch and postmodern derision. The problem with musicals isn’t that there’s no audience, but that nobody knows how to make one. Luhrmann is like Busby Berkeley with attention deficit disorder—he won’t allow a song or a scene to develop before scrambling on to his next bright idea. Instead of one song, he gives us a line or two of half a dozen, yanking us along as if we’re making him late for an appointment. Only McGregor resists Luhrmann’s proddings to overact, an island of real emotion in a sea of flaming low camp. McGregor sings well, too.