Nine (2009) – I haven’t seen 8½, so I can’t speak directly to how this does as an adaptation of that, but I have seen some Fellini, and as a tribute to Fellini, this is crap. The visuals, for the most part, work. I can find no fault in the casting. The story and the script are unobjectionable. But making it a musical is the biggest failure. Fellini is sumptuous, carnal, and decadent, so it’s easy to think that would make for a lavish stage musical, but when a non-diagetic musical number is introduced, it pulls away from the almost tactile realism of being in the room with Penélope Cruz’s boobs. In La dolce vita, the closest thing there is to a musical number is at a party, where music plays in the background while a sexy woman wiggles around the room in her dress.
Although Federico Fellini’s films are an escape, they are a very different kind of escape from reality than is allowed with a musical.