Why did I feel so let down? I suppose it was because I had such high expectations from director Rob Marshall ("Chicago"), that I was expec- ting more razzle dazzle instead of a middle-aged man's fantasy about half a dozen gorgeous young women chasing him while he wrestles with the demons of creativity (he writes and directs Italian films). This is not an upbeat movie, and in my opinion, there is no vicarious thrill in wit- nessing writer's block. Plus, the cad keeps promising his wife he will be faithful, but....

This is the film version of the Broadway musical version of the Italian film "8 1/2"...got that so far? On Broadway it featured Antonio Banderas ("Zorro") in the lead. In this film musical we get two-time Academy Award winner Daniel Day Lewis ("There Will Be Blood") taking his first shot at singing and dancing. He does just fine...

We are treated to the considerable talents of:
  • Dame Judi Dench ("Shakespeare in Love") as his perennial movie costume designer and confidante
  • The indestructible Sophia Loren ("Two Women") as his madre bella
  • Penelope Cruz ("Vicky Cristina Barcelona") is a revelation as his needy mistress
  • Nicole Kidman ("The Hours") as his bemused muse
  • Marion Cotillard ("La Vie En Rose") as his no-longer-resigned wife
  • Kate Hudson ("Almost Famous") as a sexually aggressive journalist
  • Fergie (of the band "The Black-Eyed Peas") as a cherished childhood memory: his first prostitute.

With the first five actresses, I listed a movie for which she won an Academy Award; the next, Kate Hudson, was nominated but didn't win. In my opinion, with this kind of talent, had they been given better material, we would have had a sure-fire winner. As it was... eh...

None of the songs were memorable and we certainly did NOT leave the theater humming any of them. ...and I was sooo ready to love this film... (Although a week later I DID find myself singing "Be Italian...")