Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
The Stars: Alan Cumming, Cam Gigandet, Cher, Christina Aguilera, Eric Dane, Kristen Bell, Stanley Tucci
The Story: Ali is a small-town Iowa girl who sojourns to L.A. to (what else) realise her showbiz dreams. There she stumbles into a Sunset Boulevard nightclub called Burlesque where she’s dazzled by the bright lights, scintillating dance moves, scantily clad girls and the club’s ever-magnetic owner Tess belting a number called ‘Welcome to Burlesque’.
It’s inspiration at first sight and Ali sets out to claim the stage as her domain. She starts out as a waitress, who memorizes routines while bussing tables, but it’s not long before her infectious enthusiasm and startling talent catches eyes and ears. As her star rises, she steps on the toes of fellow performers, attracts more than one suitor and becomes instrumental in saving the club from bankruptcy.
The Buzz:Burlesque marks pop-star Christina Aguilera’s feature film debut. Aguilera and Cher each composed or performed several of the songs on the soundtrack themselves. Aguilera’s Bound to You and Cher’s You Haven't Seen the Last of Me were recently nominated for Golden Globes in the “Best Original Song” category. The film itself received a HFPA nod in the “Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy” category.
inSing says: As soon as we see innocent Fame-seeking country girl Ali find Coyote Ugly, uh I mean Burlesque, only to be mesmerized by the all that Glitter andsexy Showgirls, one gets the hazy impression that we’ve seen this premise in a number of movies before. Too bad I can’t recall them off the top of my head.
But forget all that. Forget the lazy template plotting, forget that Burlesque bears no resemblance to burlesque and has more in common with Fosse’s Cabaret, and most importantly forget that Aguilera’s idea of emoting is perpetual pouting. On a musical level, Burlesque is pretty captivating. The choreography is interesting, the showmanship is top-notch, Cher is a force of nature, and while one can doubt Aguilera’s chops as an actress, nobody can doubt her tremendous pipes.
Even given those concessions, the film goes on for far too long and is too involved in absurdly banal storylines, for its audience not to get restless past the hour mark. The highlights of Burlesque lies mostly in its supporting cast - with Tucci, Cummings and Bell obviously having a ball hamming it up in roles tailor-made for them (flamboyantly gay, vampy performer and catty snark respectively).
Diablo Cody reportedly wrote the original script before the project was re-written by Steve Antin and its those remnants of Cody that provide the occasional spark of wit outside the musical numbers. The best line of film delivered by Bell (referring to Ali), “I will not be upstaged by a slut with mutant lungs!” is so Veronica Mars and so obviously Cody’s that one wishes they’d stuck with original draft.