Everyone looks beautiful, the acting is good (with one semi-exception), and Nine successfully evokes Fellini, but I don't think I see the point of the exercise, here or in the stage original. That the dialogue exists almost entirely in English with hammy Italian accents (Dench apparently refused even to bother, which is refreshing) doesn't help, and when it's added to the built-in contrivance of the musical genre, the result is forced.
Penelope Cruz is quite genuine and appealing, and it's in contrast to Nicole Kidman, who presents as very artificial. The movie isn't going for realism, obviously, but everyone else is committed to the concept. Kidman seems primarily concerned with posing, reminding the camera that she's A Great Beauty, and she's a better actress than that, plus the implied smugness is off-putting. Perhaps this is the point, but it didn't integrate very well for me.
Pretty to look at, but ultimately unsatisfying.
Sarah 49, Death Race 9; 18 of 24 categories completed
Tags: Federico Fellini Judi Dench movies Nicole Kidman Oscars 2010 Death Race Penelope Cruz shut up musicals