Rated 2.0

Without much fanfare, Rob Marshall’s shrill musical Nine was one of the major disasters of last year. Not only was it a box-office nonstarter, but it was almost completely without artistic merit, despite the face-saving noms it received from the Academy. The problem isn’t that 81¼2, Federico Fellini’s highly personal 1963 masterpiece about creative roadblocks and detours, was turned into a Hollywood musical (it first ran on Broadway in 1982 with Tommy Tune in the role of the harried director); it’s that Marshall made a version completely devoid of personality. Even worse, Marshall’s compositions are alternately flat and frenetic, the choreography is dull (he still believes that music-video-style staging is cutting-edge stuff) and the soundtrack contains only one and a half memorable songs. The only pluses are some gripping moments from Marion Cotillard, and some sultry ones from Penélope Cruz.