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Parents' Guide to

The Nines

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Befuddling sci-fi/thriller mix isn't for kids.

Movie R 2007 99 minutes
The Nines Poster Image

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There's surreal, and then there's absurd, and John August's feature-film directing debut definitely tends toward the latter. (August has written lots of movies, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Big Fish, and Tim Burton's Corpse Bride.) A mishmash that pulls from wildly varying genres (it's a comedy! it's a thriller! no, it's a drama!), The Nines' three distinct segments are stitched together by a metaphysical motif that drowns its wit and smarts.

McCarthy and Davis are both total pros, but the film best showcases Reynolds, who proves adept at switching gears (he's best as Gavin; surprisingly, it's his take on Gary the TV actor that rings the most hollow). And while August deserves kudos for attempting a new cinematic recipe, The Nines is woefully half-baked. In the hands of a master of the surreal and offbeat -- Paul Thomas Anderson, Spike Jonze, or even Michel Gondry -- it might have been a success. Instead, it's just frustratingly baffling. If only August could have picked one of his three tales and run with it.

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