Based on the fact that I am not a Christina Aguilera fan (good voice, but too many vocal gymnastics) and Cher’s cheeks just frighten me, I wasn’t giving this film too much of a chance. And while it wasn’t exactly “Sense and Sensibility” it did have its moments. Well, to be clearer the moments were when there was music playing and dancing was happening rather than when acting was taking place.
Ali (Christina Aguilera) is working bar in a small town in Iowa. Tired of not getting paid and wanting a change, Ali takes the money owed to her from the till and buys a one way bus ticket to Los Angeles. There she rents a hole in the wall apartment and looks for a job.
One night walking past a club called Burlesque she hears the music and goes in to see things up close. Inside the club she is introduced to a whole new world. The club features women lip synching to songs and grinding in risqué outfits. It is a burlesque club.
Though Ali is impressed the Burlesque is in trouble. Club co-owner Tess (Cher – Moonstruck, The Witches of Eastwick) is being pressured to sell the club by fellow co-owner and ex-husband, Vincent (Peter Gallagher American Beauty, While You Were Sleeping). Successful land developer Marcus (Eric Dane – from television’s Grey’s Anatomy) has offered them $500,000 for the club. Tess refuses. She has only to the end of the month to make the next balloon payment or the club will be repossessed.
Not taking no for an answer Ali first gets a job as a waitress and then when dancer Georgia (Julianne Hough – from television’s Dancing With the Stars) discovers she’s pregnant Ali begins dancing. And puts lead dancer Nikki’s (Kristen Bell – You Again, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) nose out of joint when she becomes the star when her big singing voice is discovered. She is in love with burlesque, but does her star shine bright enough to save the club?
Movie musicals have always been a weakness for me. Put on “Chicago”, “Cabaret” or “The Phantom of the Opera” on and I’m down with that. Put on songs with horns, dancers in skimpy costumes and people singing their way through life and I’m lovin’ it.
This is better than Mariah Carey’s “Glitter” or Britney Spears’ “Crossroads”. Christina’s voice is big, she can dance and her acting ain’t half bad. The film is a success in that it doesn’t try to be something that it isn’t. It knows that it is tacky and silly, but it is okay with that and so should we be. Everything about it is corny, but it is plenty of fun in parts.
Director Steve Antin (first film) is going for a mix of “Chicago” and “Cabaret”. It is in neither of those film’s categories, but it does the job. He is also smart enough to surround Christina with a great supporting cast like Stanley Tucci, Kristen Bell and Peter Gallagher. That Stanley Tucci can make every film he’s in seem a little bit better. Love him!
-The Burlesque Jukebox
-Previews for How Do You Know, The Tourist, Country Strong, and You Got Served: Beat the World