Nine Has 7 or 8 Too Many Stars

Please, Hollywood, stop cramming A-listers into movies
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 30, 2009 12:40 PM CST

(Newser) – In addition to its lack of critical love, Nine is “gargantuanally over-cast, the latest in a long tradition of jam-packed ensemble films”—and it’s not a good trend. The upcoming Valentine’s Day is even worse, looking to be “only slightly less crowded than a SAG buffet bruncheon,” writes Brian Raftery in New York. Yet Ocean’s 11, with its seven A-list stars, was “zippy and charming.” So what’s the magic number when it comes to ensemble pieces?

The short answer: There is none. A “frothy action-comedy” is one thing; in a drama, you run the risk of audience expectations getting “ratcheted up to an unfair degree,” causing the movie to “collapse under its own Oscar-bait weight.” But even in a comedy, it’s just plain annoying to sit through an “overstuffed blockbuster in which every other A-lister in Hollywood retired to a camper between shots and slept in a giant solid-gold bunk bed.”

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