Not to sound stalker-like, but I wanted to make sure to follow them once the credits roled because I was legitimately intrigued as to what their reactions would be. Throughout the movie I noticed on the guys was clearly infatuated with Penelope Cruz and her assets - wouldn't you be at 16? sexually confused or not - while one of the girls thoughts Daniel Day-Lewis was "gross!" when he removed his shirt and sat in a spa with a cardinal.
Leaving the cinema one of the other boys remarked "Who's that Frenchy chich? She was hot!" A bit of highbrow taste from our underage moviegoers? Heading out of the cinema though and I overheard this scintillating piece of teen-talk.
"That was weird."
"I know, right. So weird."
"I didn't know Nicole Kidman was in it."
And then they started talking about some friend of theirs and how they don't want to go to her house party tonight and I promptly skedaddled for fear of looking creepy.
As for myself? I can't say I'm not disappointed, but I also can't say I wasn't warned and that I didn't walk in with lowered expectations. It met them. Marion Cotillard warrants devotion for this performance and she was almost good enough to make me forget (at least momentarily) how completely retched La Vie on Rose was, and she in it. Penelope Cruz is fine even if she is playing the exact same everything from Vicky Cristina Barcelona, while the rest of the female cast all fill their spot with no major pros or cons. Daniel Day-Lewis on the other hand, as Guido Contini, lands firmly in the con side of the debate. What a bizarre performance. He is an incredibly handsome man so I'm not sure why they made him ugly and greasy. That singing voice wasn't exactly sparkling like a diamond either, was it?
The songs are about 50/50. I had no prior knowledge of the stage show's score. I am aware that they took a few key numbers out, such as the title track, but I found it odd that the best song was one of the new tracks, "Take It All", performed by Marion Cotillard. In fact, Cotillard gets the two best numbers from the film along with "My Husband Makes Movies". The biggest problem with the musical numbers is the way they are edited. Kidman's "Unusual Way" and Cotillard's "Take it All", especially, which cut back and forth from the fantasy stage within Day-Lewis' mind and the real world. It breaks the flow of the songs and is particularly frustrating when the songs could have so easily been situated within this real world as characters breaking into song instead of them appearing in Contini's mind. If Rob Marshall makes another musical in the future, and I hope he does since Chicago is so excellent, then I hope he ditches this idea that musical sequences must be performed on the stage within the mind.
On a technical level the film is ace. Cinematography, Art Direction, Costumes and so on all all fabulous, but the film's lack of an arc makes it all feel incredibly flat. The Guido Contini of the opening five minutes is the same Guido Contini all the way through until the epilogue. An epilogue that felt like it should have been a big musical number ala Bob Fosse's own take on 8 1/2, All That Jazz. Alas, it just ends. And so it goes. B-