A musical based on 8 ½, the impenetrable Federico Fellini film from 50 years ago? God knows what anybody was thinking–aside from hoping that maybe this tuner would repeat the success of the Oscar-winning Chicago. The songs are pretty unmemorable and the story is as underpowered as an Audi on bricks, but there are some good things here. Daniel Day-Lewis plays the genius movie director who has run out ideas. Seeking refuge from his producers and the press at a seaside spa, he is both tormented and delighted by visions of the women in his life. Day-Lewis is as watchable as ever; Penelope Cruz does a pole dance, and Fergie is an unexpected surprise as a prostitute singing “Be Italian” like her next plate of pasta depended on it. Judi Dench warbling in a basque, however, is enough to make one drive nails through their eyes.
Extras: Commentary track, three music videos and plenty of “making of” featurettes.
– By C. Bottomley