The Nines DVD Review

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If filmmakers learn nothing from the past, at least let them beware of making movies whose titles are numbers, like Jim August’s The Nines. Witness Joel Schumacher’s The Number 23, a tremendous flop despite the enormous efforts of its star Jim Carrey to pull off a similar numerically obsessed cinematic journey through the unhealthier recesses of the mind. The Nines, a rather aimless and convoluted brain teaser, attempts to transfer the kind of introspective discourse literary device of novels, that is best just left on the page.

Ryan Reynolds stars in The Nines as, well, quite a few different people with an assortment of names. His alternating identities include a small screen coke snorting hunk who’s consigned to house arrest under the watchful eye of a domineering portly publicist; a frustrated gay writer for reality TV, and a family man wandering around in the woods after his car breaks down, who encounters a woman with malice on her mind. Real people mingle all over the place with characters sprung from the imagination of the character who is the writer. And periodically, he takes turns obsessing about the number nine and whether or not he’s God.

While the emotional and existential self-indulgences of a director may excite some viewers out there, I’m more inclined to the school of thought that shrinks are usually the ones paid to be subjected to such hand-wringing narcissism, not the paying theater audience. The Nines as a movie is ultimately everything but, to say the least. Most of the action, such as it is, plays out behind the camera and in the back rooms off the set, as Hollywood types bicker, backbite and betray. Yawn.

Director August has divulged that his creative impulses in concocting The Nines – very possibly a new genre that could be termed guilt trip cinema – were shaped around the responsibility he felt to his crew and actors. Well what about the responsibility to your audience? You know, over here.

SONY Pictures Home Entertainment

Rated R

DVD Features: Two Feature Commentaries: Director John August and Star Ryan Reynolds, and Director John August, Editor Douglas Crise and Star Melissa McCarthy; Alternate Ending; Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary; God Short Film: A Short Film from Director John August with Optional Commentary; Summing Up The Nines: A Behind-The-Scenes Featurette; Script to Screen: A Script-Storyboard-Film Comparison; Photo Galleries.

Prairie Miller is a New York multimedia journalist online, in print and radio, who reviews movies and conducts in-depth interviews. She can also be heard on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network’s Arts Express.