I don't really know what Rob Marshall and company were thinking when they went through with this film because it's rather unsatisfying fare, even with the homage to Fellini's "8 1/2" as inspiration for a look at Italian cinema in the late 1950s. Given a cast with 6 actors boasting Academy Awards on their resume, the script doesn't ask enough from them in this exploration of famous Italian film director Guido Contini's (Daniel Day-Lewis) downward spiral of hitting director's block on his comeback film project after suffering through some recent flops in his own creative journey. Guido lived a complicated life, littered with a wife, mistresses, and muses, all the while holding on to the maturity level of an 8-year old since his creative output afforded him enough leeway to misbehave and live concurrent, haphazard, romantic lives irrespective of the cost to personal dignity and self-esteem of the women left in his romantic wake. The film features quite a few "numbers" by the characters to better fill out what they are feeling at the moment, saying in song what they could not in person, internalizing pain and regret, or expressing other emotional mile-markers in relationships with Guido. Heck, there might have been exactly 9 numbers for all I know (it's close to that number). Of all the numbers, I enjoyed Marion Cotillard's 2 numbers the most. She played Luisa, the wife of Guido, who finally comes to grips with who and what Guido is, and personally, it's an all-too-familiar touchstone within such a relationship borne from director taking an acting ingenue as his wife, while also unconsciously harvesting the personal perks from being an in-demand film director to the other ingenues-in-wait. Penelope Cruz plays Carla, the current mistress who complicates Guido's life, and provides a tantalizing number to explain Guido's fascination with Carla. Even Judi Dench gets in the song-n-dance act, playing a long-time costumer/confidente of Guido's. Kate Hudson gets a fun little number to express the exciting aspects of Italian cinema through the eyes of an American reporter for Vogue, Fergie shows up as the siren to young Guido's burgeoning appreciation of womanhood, and Nicole Kidman provides a muse-like inspiration in spite of needing more real world TLC and respect. Sophia Loren plays Guido's mother, and Guido is not averse to seeking emotional shelter within his mother's embrace throughout his own recollections of his youth. The numbers are well-executed for the most part, but it's not one of those films where the sum of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. As the film wore on, I felt less and less sympathy or interest in Guido, and the conclusion didn't really mean much to me, probably because I checked out of the film 2/3 into it. I give it 2.5 stars, or a grade of C+.