Poor American reviews dampen Nine’s Aussie debut

Hundreds of musical theatre actors go to auditions each and every month in Australia, and the competition is always tough, but imagine being up for a role against Anne Hathaway and Sienna Miller.

That was the challenge that faced Kate Hudson when she auditioned for the role of Stephanie in the film version of the musical Nine, which opens in Australia later this month.

Hudson won the role, and has described the audition experience as one of the most amazing of her life.

“That awkward moment when you first open your mouth and start to sing is terrifying,” Hudson said.

Hudson stars alongside Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cottillard, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Nicole Kidman and screen legend Sophia Loren in the movie-musical, which has unfortunately received negative reviews in America.

Rotten Tomatoes, which monitors film reviews, says only 37 per cent of reviews have been positive for Nine.

In USA Today, Claudia Puig, said, in part: “Unlike Chicago, there are no showstopping musical numbers here. It takes a couple viewings/listenings to appreciate — or even distinguish — its songs… Nine should have been called 4½ because it doesn’t come close to the work of the master who inspired it.”

In the Los Angeles Times, Betsy Sharkey slams the film: “Nine is one of those films that couldn’t look better on paper — so many Oscar, Tony and Grammy winners involved that the production should have literally glittered with all that gold. But in the end, nothing adds up. Perhaps Zero would have been a better name.”

And this, from Peter Bradshaw in London’s Guardian: “Listen: can you hear a sort of whooshing and gurgling? That is the sound of Daniel Day-Lewis flushing his mystique down the toilet. He has mystifyingly taken the non-singing lead in a musical that is hideously naff, shallow, creepingly misogynist, badly acted and as phoney as a three-lire bill. ”

Nine follows the story of film director Guido Contini (Day-Lewis), who is struggling with his creativity and getting involved in some distracting relationships. As he works on a new film, he balances the women in his life, including his wife, his closest friend, a prostitute, his mistress and his mother.

The film is inspired by the Maury Yeston musical of the same name, which opened on Broadway in 1982. The musical won five Tony Awards – including Best Musical – but seems to have struggled to translate on film.

The musical has received strong publicity in Australia, but has struggled to gain any real momentum during the holiday film season and against the record-breaking Avatar.

Nine is rated M and opens in Australia on January 21.

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