I've seen the trailer for Moulin Rouge (directed by William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet's Baz Luhrmann) three times now and every time it's a real head-scratcher. A bizarre pastiche of glittering Hollywood, 19th-century history, Las Vegas excess, oh-so-French naughtiness and retro musical stylings, this story of "love at the Moulin Rouge" isn't baffling to just me. Nicole Kidman, purring "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend," is one thing, but hearing the Police's "Roxanne" drawn out into a Leonard Cohen-esque growl made all the people around me start snickering.
The movie looks completely overwrought, and the soundtrack even more so. David Bowie? Bono? Li'l Kim? Beck? I had to give it a listen. I can't believe I'm committing this to print, but I actually liked it. It's not that it's good -- it's not -- but it's bad in such an over-the-top gleeful way, it's really rather fun. The first track, David Bowie's "Nature Boy" is melancholy and atmospheric, like the prelude to a tragic musical, making it clear that everything to follow is going to be pure camp. "Lady Marmalade" by Christina Aguilera, Li'l Kim, Mya and Pink, is dreadfully hip-hop, opera fleshes out "Your Song," and surprisingly, both Kidman and co-star Ewan McGregor do well on their numerous tracks. It is not an album to take seriously, but it is worth having for the amusement factor alone.