Couldn't sit through it. Had the same reaction to the series "Viva Blackpool". Love musicals where I'm not listening to people sing along with the original recordings. This is a very specific problem for me as I love Dennis Potter lip-synched musicals like "Pennies From Heaven" and "The Singing Detective" (television and film).
I've seen the whole singing along with pop songs done better elsewhere. I didn't feel any sort of interaction between any of the characters, its like they were all in different films. Winslet & Walken were great, but I didn't believe for one second that Mary-Louise Parker and that other chick from the Sopranos were Gandolfini's daughters.
Turturro's strange take on the musical goes wrong in some very interesting ways. The extraordinary cast gives it their all, and there are a handful of surreally inspired moments. But as unique and original as it is, it never quite comes together as a compelling story enough to rise above the cloying over the top cartoonishness - it especially falls flat toward the end.
I've quite simply seen nothing like this before. It's execution in syringing pop ballads into its subject matter remains disjointed. However this only adds to the absurd tone, of what I do not consider to be a musical, but a surreal celebration of human nature captured in film.
Took me by surprise when James Gandolfini broke into song and I enjoyed it. The dancing is not exceptional but there is heart to the story and there are no small parts. Minor characters shine too, which I suppose is the perk of having actor turned director - he knows the struggle of actors getting one-dimensional roles.
It had its OK moments and it had its great moments - there were times when Turturro's witty irony cracked me up, and others where it shot off into pure silliness. But if anything, I enjoyed the experience.
I should hate this film. I should hate it but I don't and I have no idea why. Something about it is bizarrely charming even though it contains just about everything I hate to see in a film. It's the guiltiest of all my guilty pleasures.