Hey, you watch this movie and try to sum it up better.
THE NINES comes to us from the apparently warped mind of John August (BIG FISH, GO), who writes and makes his directing debut. The script has its clever points (perhaps Reynold’s green string bracelet will bring up some theories?) and I dug the thematic mix of existentialism and metaphysics, which he managed to quietly include without beating you over the cerebral cortex. It’s definitely not lacking in creativity either, with August using anything and everything to toy with the viewer, from random musical numbers to fourth wall breaking to Ryan Reynolds losing his belly button. Even if some of the more experimental stuff is a bit too out there (I didn’t mind the singing, but wasn’t 100% sold on it either), I’ll give the guy points for trying.
August’s direction is also fairly strong, with each of the three sections having its own visual style and feel. (The second part is based on his own personal experience writing for TV and feels quite honest about the “tougher” parts of the industry.) He also pulls together some talented folks to help sell the whole shebang. I’ve always dug Ryan Reynolds as an actor, whether comedic or serious, and he’s fantastic here playing three very different roles. Same goes for Hope Davis and Melissa McCarthy. I wasn’t familiar with McCarthy before this, but was pleasantly surprised by her performance.
The pace slows a bit in the second act, mainly due to the change in format, but August keeps the mystery chugging along. The end itself works, with the outcome being interesting and not what I expected. It answered a lot of questions, almost to the point of being too straightforward (if you pay attention, that may be an intentional choice), but I still felt satisfied with the conclusion. In this day and age it’s always nice to be able to appreciate something original, which is a great word to describe THE NINES.
Commentary by John August and Ryan Reynolds: Apparently, this was originally recorded for downloading and listening via MP3 player in the theaters. And for some reason it doesn’t synch up perfectly to the film (there’s a ten seconds late gap), which can get annoying. Still there’s a lot of information on here and Reynolds is a funny guy, so it might be worth sucking it up.
Commentary by John August, Melissa McCarthy and editor Douglas Crise: Honestly, a lot of what’s said by August is repeated info from the other commentary. And as peppy and pleasant as McCarthy is to listen to, I’m not sure it was worth it.
Deleted Scenes (13:01): A few more pieces of the puzzle (though rightfully cut), with optional commentary by August. One scene does directly bring up String Theory, which is very subtly hinted at in the movie. (If you don’t already know what String Theory is, don’t Wiki it. It’ll give you a headache.)
Summing Up THE NINES (14:22): This is a general behind the scenes feature, with August and co. taking you through the film conceptually and physically. It does give away a few hints, so make sure you watch it post-viewing.
“GOD” Short Film (11:24): An amusing short from August starring Melissa McCarthy as a girl who’s friends with God and feels his wrath when things turn sour. It’s a little student-filmy, but does feature some vague connections to THE NINES, so it might be worth your time if you liked the movie.
Script to Storyboard to Screen Comparisons (5:25): A split screen demo of the opening scene. I liked the scene itself, but nothing really warranted such specific treatment.
There’s also a Photo Gallery and Previews.
Extra Tidbit: The house used in the first two acts is John August’s real house. Which is amusing since Ryan Reynolds spanks it on his couch.