Cher, Christina Aguilera
November 24, 2010
1 hour 59 minutes
Burlesque isn't quite the musical you would expect coming from this day in age. This isn't a musical where you feel pretty or you feel so wonderful that you feel like singing in the rain. Instead, it's the typical small town girl with big city dreams story with the setting of a burlesque theater. Think of it as being a modern day set 'Chicago' starring the legendary Cher and the incredibly talented Christina Aguilera. From the trailers, I knew that this would be another Chicago. But the question is if Burlesque is as good or better than 'Chicago.' Well, the answer is both yes and no. The movie is as good as 'Chicago,' but its surely not better than it. Both films are similar, with Christina Aguilera's Alice acting slightly similar to Renée Zellweger's Roxy. Cher's Tess is also similar to Catherine Zeta-Jones' Velma, being one of the film's antagonists turned anti-hero. Both films are very similar to one another, except for the fact that this movie doesn't involve 20s Chicago and the women convicted of murder.
From the trailers, I had a good feeling that this movie would be a knockoff of Chicago. Unfortunately, despite wanting to check this out in theaters, I decided to wait for on demand because of the mixed reviews. So now it's June, I was bored after seeing Cars 2, and I found this in one of Starz's Early Premieres category. Now I am here to discuss what I thought of the latest non animated musical to spill onto the scene. Despite the film having spectacular musical numbers, catchy tunes, and nice work from the two main leads, Burlesque also includes choppy dialogue, a story nobody cares about, and an ending so abrupt I blinked and missed it with no further explanation on what just happened. Burlesque is a good musical, but not a good But for the signing and dancing along, I'd recommend checking this movie out because it is as magical as a real burlesque club.
SYNOPSIS: (Courtesy of Fandango.com)
Ali is a small-town singer who takes her shot at stardom performing at a neo-burlesque nightclub in Los Angeles. Taken under the wing of a friendly featured dancer, Ali quickly realizes that not everyone is quite as nice when she forms a friendship with bartender/aspiring musician Jack and incurs the wrath of the club's cattiest showgirl. After making her leap to the stage with a little help from a sympathetic stage manager and the club's playfully androgynous host, Ali becomes the star attraction at The Burlesque Lounge, and the crowds start packing in. Later, a wealthy businessman makes a bid for the club while trying to charm the talented young performer straight into his arms.
Let me start off by saying that the songs in this movie and the extensively choreographed dance scenes are by far the best things about this movie. The songs aren't as memorable as "I Feel Pretty," "Singin' In The Rain," or "Sit Down You're Rockin' The Boat," but they are catchy as hell. Cher is a brilliant singer and that is clearly shown in the two songs she sings in the movie. Christina Aguilera is also a fantastic singer, being able to have her voice play as a character in the movie. Music plays a big part in this movie, so the songs featured in this movie add another layer to this non-stripping musical. Unfortunately, the acting isn't as good as the singing and choreography.
I've never seen a single Cher movie, so I have no idea how good of an actress she really is. She isn't terrible in this movie, but she plays the typical depressed woman anxious to claim what is hers. She gets angry, acts like a queen, and so on. The performance isn't award worthy at all, but it is good for a musical movie that was never even going to win any awards in the first place. The same thing goes for the movie's other star, newcomer Christina Aguilera. Aguilera can really hold a note, as she and Cher are fantastic singers. Like Cher though, Aguilera isn't a terrific actress. I give her props that this is her first movie, but her acting should be better. Instead, it's something that I could've gotten from an episode of Degrassi.
Come to think of it, the actors, aside from Stanley Tucci come from an adult, musical version of Degrassi, which takes place in a burlesque club. However, Degrassi's acting isn't as good as the acting in this movie. No, it's not great acting. But like I said, the acting is good enough for this type of musical. The best acting in the movie comes from Stanley Tucci. He is great in every movie he does, even if it isn't Academy Award worthy. He is always the best thing in the movies he's in. This movie would've been like every other modern musical if it wasn't Stanley Tucci's gay performance. So to sum up, the acting isn't fantastic, but it's good enough for a typical chick flick musical.
The one thing that was worse than the acting in this movie was the story. The subplot story involves Cher not being able to afford the burlesque club, so she's being pushed to sell the club to this cocky businessman. As hope began to dissolve for Cher, along comes Christina Aguilera to save the day. The plot is pretty unoriginal, and you always know what's going to happen in the end. We've seen this plot in many movies before, so why does Hollywood have to recycle subplots, when we want to see something original for a change. The one thing original about the story is the fact that it ends so abruptly. The final scene of the movie has Christina singing the song "Show Me How You Burlesque." One second after the song ends, credits start rolling. The movie ended faster than I could blink. This was one of the biggest "what the hell" moments that I've ever had watching a movie. There were so many questions I had after watching this movie, but they will never be answered. The one thing a movie wants to avoid is to have a fast ending and a sloppy story. Burlesque unfortunately missed every mark with that.
So Burlesque won't be called a classic, like Hello Dolly and Showboat, but instead it will be put along the lines of Hairspray and High School Musical. The singing and dancing is as usual spectacular, but the story is predictable and sloppy, the acting isn't so great, and the movie ends so abruptly. Yes, the songs are toe tapping, the ladies are sexy, and the dancing is unbelievable, but the movie's story and acting really make the film suffer. I enjoyed these songs so much, I may consider putting them on my iPod. The dancing is as good as the dancing you see in the Step Up movies and on YouTube. But if you saw Chicago, you might as well have seen this movie if Chicago had the storyline of this movie and took place in the modern times instead of the 20s/30s. The story and acting may not be as good as they should be, but the singing, dancing, and scantily clad ladies make up for all of that, and give us a musical that is as good as the more recent musicals that have come out in the last few years. This movie is far from a must see, but if you do see it, it is a fun watch and a musical dream. If you're browsing the movies in Starz by any chance or you don't know what to get at Redbox, then you may want to pick up Burlesque. After all, seeing Cher in a movie once again and Stanley Tucci being Stanley Tucci is always a treat. Treat yourself during a boring night and watch the ladies of today flaunt their stuff in Burlesque.