NINE is a complete mess. It's a movie based on a musical based on a movie based on a director's life. That tells you it's too many generations removed from creativity even in concept. The movie 8 1/2 was so brilliant is it widely regarded as one of the best movies of all time. Making a musical of it is enough of a different genre that it might work (although frankly, it didn't, the songs are not very good). But making a movie from that musical basically forces you to remake the movie. Why bother?
Beyond that, there's the fact that the original movie is about Italian culture. But we're watching this movie, with a British actor, speaking English, doing a phony Italian accent and pretending to be Mastroianni. Mastroianni had a charm about him that is completely lacking in this film. The rest of the cast, for the most part, is completely miscast as well. Nicole Kidman is a blond Claudia Cardinale? Fergie is playing the homely homeless woman on the beach?
The music is all over the place. Nino Rota is so important to Fellini's films, and here he is replaced completely. One would have expected Italian music to be in the film, but instead there is a bizarre mix of American jazz and musical theater, Kurt Weill, and 60s kitsch including bossa/samba.
It's a shame, there are a lot of people out there who will never see 8 1/2.