“ Genre: Musicals & Classical / Suitable for 12 years and over / Director: Steve Antin / Actors: Cher, Christina Aguilera, Alan Cumming, Stanley Tucci, Kristen Bell ... / DVD released 2011-04-25 at Sony Pictures Home Ent. UK / Features of the DVD: Subtitled, PAL „
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My friends and I decided to have a low budget night out, i.e. a night in with friends, DVDs and pizza. We narrowed the film field to musicals and selected this one as a cheesy something that we wouldn't have to think too much about! It was sold to us by one of the girls as "don't expect anything and you won't be disappointed". So, with that in mind, we set about watching it! I was apprehensive to say the least, as I'm not sure who would have thrown Christina Aguilera and Cher together to make a film! I would love to have been a fly on the wall when this storyline was cobbled together and when the parts were casted!
The story line consists of a small town girl, Ali (played by Christina Aguilera), who has previously been working in a bar in her home town. She ups and leaves when her boss refuses to pay her and she hot foots it to Los Angeles pronto. She's searching for her "big break" moment, and unwittingly ends up in a burlesque club, watching the glittery, spangly, opening number. She is immediately hooked on the glitz and glamour and searches for the owner (Tess, played by Cher). She isn't given an audition by Tess, but the bar tender, with whom she was previously flirting, gives her a job as a waitress. During her work as a waitress, she manages to learn all of the routines and songs and when the next round of auditions happen, she manages to wow the management. The owner, Tess, has her own battle on her hands in order to keep the club going, as there is a large amount of interest from developers who want to be able to buy the club for the view of LA. There is, of course, a love story 'sub-plot' between Ali and Jack. It is entirely predictable and I won't divulge any more than this in terms of the plot, as I assure it would ruin the rest of it for you!
When the film first started playing, I'll admit I was sceptical about the quality of the film, as the camera zoomed in on Christina dressed down and doing a musical number. However, as it went on, I decided that it was bordering on good. It was definitely the most cheesy film I've seen for a very long time! Ali begins as a sweet and somewhat naive young girl at the beginning of the film, but somehow (and in the space of 5 minutes!) manages to turn into a sexy vamp of a burlesque dancer. I was quite stunned just how fast the transformation was and couldn't help but think that it was slightly contrived! It would have been good to know what leads her to the instantaneous transition to a sexy burlesque girl, but no. Your imagination will just have to take over for you.
The one person I adored in this film was Stanley Tucci as Sean (Tess's right hand man for the shows and the general running of the club). I had no idea he was in it, as Cher and Christina take up the entire front cover of the DVD. He is the gloriously camp chappy from The Devil Wears Prada. He's fabulous dahling. He really is! I honestly thought that he made the show for me! He supports Tess well and yet keeps her grounded and manages to kick her back into touch with reality! I wasn't as impressed with Cher to be honest. I expected Cher to be loud, larger than life and absolutely fabulous. She does the glamour of the club very well, and it's easy to see how she was running such a glamorous establishment. However, she is significantly lacking in any form of facial expression whatsoever! Her face doesn't give anything away about what she's feeling, which in light of the fact that her club is struggling, made her slightly detached from reality for me!
There are some immensely spangly show numbers in this film which really make it live up to it's showy flamboyance. I expected it to be more 'burlesque-y' than it actually was, but let us not forget that it's a 12A so needs to be slightly less in your face! But the songs are fabulous and most definitely catchy! I went away from my friend's singing "show me how you burlesque" all the way home.
Overall, I'd safely say it's one of those films which is 'so bad it's good'. Don't expect anything remotely high-brow and you will really enjoy it! This DVD is available for £4.25 on Amazon and is most likely available in supermarkets for around the same price. Its a good watch, but don't expect that you will be able to get multiple watches out of this film!
Burlesque is a 2010 film that fits firmly into the category of musicals. Some of my favourite films of all time have been musicals - from Annie, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers when I was a kid, to more recently falling in love with films like Chicago, Evita and my favourite of all time being Moulin Rouge. I had read a review about this film quite a long time ago, and then only recently discovered that it was available to watch online as part of my lovefilm subscription.
The main attraction of this to me is the two starring ladies - Cher and Christina Aguilera. Neither are really at the height of their popularity really at the moment, but both ladies have proven that they can hold a tune. I have seen Cher in Mask and Mermaids and thought she was great in both. I haven't seen Christina in anything else, but I think she is a talented lady, so I went into this expecting good things musically.
Plotwise, this doesn't have a lot about it that is original. Aguilera plays a small town girl, Ali. She decides there is nothing in her town anymore for her, so she makes the break to LA hoping to become a star. When she arrives, she finds that there is no work around in showbiz, but she stumbles across a dingy club called The Burlesque Lounge. She falls in love with the glitzy costumes and routines, and manages to snag herself a bar job in the club owned by Tess (Cher). Tess is a bit of a harsh character at first glance, but she takes Ali under her wing.
The show features pretty girls in skimpy costumes who mime to the music. Ali finds an opportunity to audition for one of the spots, and it becomes clear that she is a talented girl and dragging in the punters. When one of the other girls sabotage her performance, she manages to save the show by belting out a tune and keeping the punters happy.
Of course no musical is complete without some sort of problem that needs resolving. Ali develops a relationship with someone but when she really trusts them, they let her down badly. She also discovers that Tess is having lots of money problems and the club may have to close, but can Ali help her to stop this happening before a developer moves in and bulldozes the club to the ground?
Some of the other cast were recognisable such as Kristen Bell (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and Eric Dane (most recognisable to me as Mark Sloane from Greys Anatomy, series 2-8, and I have to say a similar character here). However, the script and performance here is carried by the performances of Cher and Aguilera.
The strength to this is the music. Some of the earlier performances such as Diamonds Are a Girls Best Friend are performed better in other musicals like Moulin Rouge. I couldn't help but make a comparison in my head and this came off poorly. Cher's performances are strong, but she doesn't perform songs that are famous from elsewhere - the two songs she performs are for this film, and although she belts them out with emotion, they were nowhere near as stunning as the ones done by Aguilera. Aguilera lights up the screen in every scene she appears in. You can't help but follow her around the set as she performs, and she is credible as this character trying to make it big in LA.
The music makes the weak plot watchable, but this is not something I could sit and watch over and over again. I can enjoy it for what it is, the Christina Aguilera show, but there is only so much she can do to draw all this together for me. Characters seem a bit twee and not three dimensional enough for me, and this is highly predictable and not really that original. I don't feel able to give it more than 3 stars, and most of that is because of the high volume of musical performances that kept me entertained while watching it.
I liked how some of the songs were used to move the script along, with different shots on screen showing action from the cast and then performances on the stage. Sometimes (Aguilera) introduced the movie well at the start when she moved to LA, and then I liked Guy What Takes His Time as Ali was getting into a relationship. Chers performance of You Haven't Seen the Last of Me was also a poignant performance as she didn't know where to turn to find money to save her club, yet she is determined not to lose what she has been working for all her life.
I think anyone who likes musicals should try this and see what they think. There is a good mix of big show tunes and new compositions, and it is watchable, but it won't become a must watch again soon sort of movie for me. I wouldn't turn it off, but I would watch in preference something like Coyote Ugly or Moulin Rouge which feel just as talented and a more original plot.
I'd like to know which writer sat down one day and thought 'do you know what I'd like to see? Cher and Christina Aguilera in a film about a struggling Burlesque club'...I'd like to know so I can thank them because honestly this film may be my favourite thing I've seen all year. Scrap that, in the last decade.
In all seriousness when I first heard about this film my brain couldn't fully compute how or why it existed. I was working in a cinema at the time so when it came out I saw parts of it several times over for a period of a couple of weeks. The songs were extremely catchy and despite every fibre of my being telling me I shouldn't like it I couldn't take my eyes off the screen. It actually made it rather difficult for me to carry out my job.
The basic premise for the film is that small town girl Ali Rose (Christina Aguilera) leaves her crappy job in a bar for the bright lights of LA. It is there that she stumbles upon a run down Burlesque club and is quite literally mesmerised by what she sees. She talks her way into a waitressing job and when she finally plucks up the courage to dance for boss Tess (Cher) she lands a job on stage almost immediately. There is a classic case of bitchiness amongst the other girls, who shun the new girl. In particular drunk starlet Nikki (Kristen Bell) tries her best to sabotage Ali and in one attempt stops the music mid performance. This is Ali's chance to sing her tiny little blonde heart out, and boy does she. Tess is suitably impressed, changes the entire show to allow Ali singing parts and she becomes the main star. What Ali doesn't know is that Tess is battling the bills in order to keep her club and facing numerous tempting offers from developers who want the envied spot with the best view in LA.
Alongside the main plotline there is a little romance going on. The classic case of good guy and best friend versus rich and ultimately slimey older man who battle for her affections. The plot is shockingly predictable with very few plot twists that add anything extra than what you would expect from a film with Cher in it. That said, there is something deeply seductive about this film and it could either be the singing or the cast. I'm inclined to go with the latter.
Christina Aguilera is a bit of a wild card, and obviously she is on board because of her amazing singing voice. But she isn't as terrible as you'd think she might be. I found her voice a little strange, given that I've never actually heard her speak before. I also struggled a little with her character who goes from sweet, innocent girl to massive slutty bitch within the space of 10 minutes. There isn't really any back story which allows you to justify her terrible behaviour and I found myself becoming increasingly angry with her. There are also great performances from Kristen Bell. If you've seen the sloth video and fallen in love with her like I have then I find it hard to buy into her as a mean girl but I loved her in this all the same. I also really enjoyed Stanley Tucci as Sean, basically imagine him in The Devil Wears Prada and then put him in a Burlesque club because that's essentially what the film has done.
Oh and my favourite of all...Cher (I think she deserves her own paragraph). This film led me to ask quite openly on facebook why she has not been in more films. Her performance is something to marvel at. Probably the aspect that I enjoyed most was her ambiguous and often confusing facial expressions, or lack of. She was sad, she was happy and yet her face never gave you the slightest hint of how she was feeling other than gloriously stoic.
I'm going to end this review by telling you that when I watched this a couple of days ago it was accompanied by a rather large bottle of wine (I assume this is how it was intended to be watched, because I'm not sure it could be done sober). If you like films this probably isn't one for you. It is poorly written and the plot is so thin you come away questioning what you have just watched. But, and I'm not ashamed to say it, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. In the same way I thoroughly enjoy watching TOWIE...because even though you know it's wrong it is still captivating.
As terrible as it is I applaud the conviction of the person who wanted so badly to see Cher and Christina Aguilera in a film together that they wrote the script for this in a matter of minutes. It livened up my Thursday evening and if you want a really good laugh then this is the way to indulge yourself.
I bought this DVD for £3 in Asda, and for something that afforded hours of entertainment I really can't complain. I will definitely watch it again but only with some form of alcoholic companion.
Would I recommend this? On a personal level, absolutely yes. Purely because I laughed for 2 hours straight. If you want to see a good film then obviously no, see any other film. On that note, I'm awarding it 5 stars because for me it's a case of being so, so bad that's it is brilliant. Please don't hold me accountable if you watch it and don't feel the same way.
I have a mixed opinion on this movie.
I though that this movie had great music and dancing. Also the acting was surprisingly OK, But as for the storyline it was as dull as dishwater.
The storyline of a company owners business about to go under and they have to find money to keep it open and it all works out happy ever after has been told so many times its unreal.
The second storyline of a country girl moving to a big city and finding success is also been done to many times. This is what the two basic storylines of burlesque is this is the only downfall. The storylines are too common.
I loved all the performances at the burlesque club in the movie they where really good i enjoyed that aspect they looked almost like music videos. The songs are really catchy. It even includes some classics like Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend.
I loved Christina Aguilera's character i feel she played the part right id didn't expect her to be as good as she was. She is the small time girl that moves to Sunset Strip in LA. She goes through lots in the movie to get heard in the club and eventually goes from being a waitress to lead singer on stage. I really enjoyed watching her character grow throughout the movie.
Cher is the club owner that is in denial about her club is about to be shut down. She realises Christina's character is a really good singer and uses her to star her shows and raises admission prices in of saving her club. Although Cher did some good acting I didn't like her character it was abit moany and demanding.
The movie starts off with what looks like a string of music video's almost. After the first half an hour the story starts to kick and and become more like a movie. I feel that this movie is good eventhough the storyline isn't. The movie has so much glamour and beauty that makes it fun too watch, this over takes the fact there not much of a story and it turns out do be enjoyable to watch.
The movie was released in 2010 and was directed by Steve Antin. It was rated a 12a I think this rating was suitable because there arnt many mature themes in there.
Is tagline was It takes a LEGEND... to make a STAR but it doesn't really relate to the movie because there are no character that play legends. When looked at from a real life point of view Cher is a legend and Christina Aguilera is a big star today. That confused me after I first watched the movie.
I still would reccomend it but this movies not really for people that are critical about movies.
== About the film ==
Burlesque is a 2010 musical film. It was directed by Steven Antin and produced by Donald De Line. The film is rated 12A due to scenes of a sexual nature, suggestive dance routines, partial nudity and some mild language. Burlesque has a run time of 119 minutes. With a budget of $55 million, it only went on to make a little less than this worldwide.
== Plot ==
Small town girl Ali dreams of making it big. Hating her life and her sometimes paid job, she decides to up and leave seeing as she has nothing to stay for and heads to the big city of Los Angeles. Her hopes of becoming a singer are soon shattered though after no luck in the job department but Ali happens to stumble upon a burlesque bar, not really knowing what it is all about. When she steps through the doors though, Ali is amazed by what she sees and instantly wants to be a part of this world, even if it means going back to being a waitress. Luckily, Jack gives Ali a shot and although it means serving drinks, she has her foot in the door.
The Burlesque Lounge has seen better days and is struggling financially. Even the best dancers there cant keep people in and spending enough money to keep them going. After Ali finally gets a shot on stage and shows exactly how good she is, Tess, the owner of the club pays a lot more attention to her and when she finds out what an amazing singer Ali is, Tess revolves the whole show around her, upsetting some of the other girls. Is Ali's voice good enough to change everything for Tess and the Burlesque Lounge or are they forever doomed?
== Cast ==
Cher - Tess
Christina Aguilera - Ali
Eric Dane - Marcus
Cam Gigandet - Jack
Julianne Hough - Georgia
Alan Cumming - Alexis
Peter Gallagher - Vince
Kristen Bell - Nikki
Stanley Tucci - Sean
Diana Agron - Natalie
Glynn Turman - Harold Saint
Terrence Jenkins - Dave
Chelsea Traille - Coco
== What I thought ==
I love musicals and as cheesy as this one looked from the advert, I didn't care and I immediately wanted to watch it. I wasn't exactly expecting a masterpiece going in to watch it either.
Singers don't have a great reputation for making the change from song to the big screen. If you think back to Mariah Carey being in her own film, you will remember why. Christina Aguilera seems to be changing that though. Everyone knows that Aguilera has one hell of a voice but this film does nothing but showcase that even more. Songs used are designed to make the most of her powerful range but is also able to show that she can pull of a great slow song as well when needed. Her acting ability is not anywhere near as bad as I was expecting it to be. As a character, Ali is likable but the problem here was that she was extremely underwritten. We only really get to learn a little bit about her at the beginning of the film where she works as a waitress and barely gets paid for it but after that, we barely get anything more. After her move to LA, Ali's character goes downhill and would have been completely terrible had Aguilera saved her with being great at the burlesque scenes.
Cher, another big name, who has previously been in films, does a great job but again, underused. As Tess, the owner of the Burlesque Lounge, Cher brings a subtlety to her character which makes her extremely likable. Although she starts off as quite hard and seeming to be uncaring, it quickly becomes clear that she is a lot more than that. Cher doesn't get much time on screen to use her great singing voice and I was disappointed by this. I wanted to see Cher rocking the stage a big more and to give Aguilera a run for her money but it was not to be. Some other big names grace us with this presence in this film too. Stanley Tucci is fantastic as the gay best friend which is a role he is getting his name for now. He was the one who added the softer and more relatable side to Tess and brought more out of her.
Burlesque has an amazing soundtrack and one that I now own after watching the film. With a great range of songs from The Beautiful People to Bound To You, there is surely at least one song which everyone will like. Not only does this film have some nice, upbeat numbers but there is also one amazing power ballad which Aguilera knocks out of the park. Bound To You is by far my favourite song on the soundtrack and with its beautiful lyrics and with Aguilera's voice behind it, I was instantly in love with it. Aguilera co wrote some of the songs and big time producer Tricky Stewart (who's other works include Single Ladies, Umbrella and Me Against The Music) puts his name behind the majority of the songs and with this combination, it was bound to be a success.
The dancing, the burlesque, was great to watch even if I don't know that much about the style. It was provocative and entertaining without going too far at any point. While the dancers do a fine job, I think that Julianne Hough was seriously underused as Georgia. You may know her from Dancing With The Stars or probably better known as Derek Hough's little sister but either way, she is an amazing dancer but this wasn't really shown. Hough is also playing Ariel in the remake of Footloose next year where I think again, her dancing ability will not be used to its full potential. That being said, I would happily pay to go and see something like this for real, even if they style isn't exactly what burlesque truly is. The dance numbers made the film a whole lot more entertaining and I loved it.
Overall, Burlesque is not a film for everyone. It is a lovely easy watch that will suit girls perfectly if they want a little romance and some great dance/ music numbers. It will also suit guys due to the racy dance numbers which I'm sure they will be able to appreciate. Not an amazing film but entertaining nonetheless.
Ah, the old trick of the pop star giving the big screen a go. It's as predictable as Aussie soap stars becoming pop stars themselves! Rarely, though, does one of the pop stars make a success story as a big screen actor, and Christina Aguilera wouldn't exactly be the first choice for a pop star turned actor. Here, she stars in Burlesque as a small town girl looking to get onto the stage as a dancer. Along the way there are pitfalls, but with a big voice like hers, she's soon to get noticed.
I have to say, Aguilera was miles better than I had thought she would have been. When I first heard she was giving acting a go on the big screen, I wasn't bothered at all about watching it. I've never really been a fan of Cher either, so I don't really know what exactly it was that possessed me to watch this. However, it has a meandering and predictable plot that doesn't require much concentration, if any, and it has a pretty impressive soundtrack. The plot of a small town girl showing a talent for burlesque dancing coupled with singing provides for a riches to rags story, and the inclusion of Cam Gigandet as the love interest sort of adds a level of romance into it which allows for a bit more depth in plot.
There's nothing here that's going to wow anyone in terms of a story, but the music scenes were really entertaining. Cher shows that she's still got an impressive voice, and Aguilera belts out the tunes with that huge voice of hers. The music has been written very well, as it suits both of them as well as fitting in nicely with the look and feel of the film. There are some risque numbers as well as some that merely show off the power vocals on display, while other musical elements of the film, such as the interludes, add to the anticipation and mood the film gives off. That Cher's character, Tess, is about to lose her burlesque club for financial reasons kind of adds a monetary aspect to the film, and allows for the moral code to bash its way onto the stage as it becomes not just about the small town girl but also about the dominant woman and her struggle for survival. The men around them, such as Gigandet, an excellent Stanley Tucci and rich boy Eric Dane, are more there to provide fodder for the plot, although Tucci does threaten to steal the show on numerous occasions.
With the joint focus on Cher's Tess and Aguilera's Ali, it really is a rather simple plot, though, and while I wouldn't have expected anything else, it does sort of make it rather forgettable in many ways. The singing element is most definitely its forte, and while I was quite surprised at Aguilera's acting ability, it's not so much something to shout about as something that may be worth keeping an eye out for in the future. Certainly if she does anything else, I won't have the same negative view towards it as I did with Burlesque. Basic but with really good music and some good moments of entertainment, Burlesque is a film I'd happily recommend if you're not so fussed about concentrating on a plot and just want a decent entertaining film.
Some singers should stick to just that - singing and performing on stage. Pop stars trying to conquer the big screen can be extremely dangerous that has two very different outcomes. You can flop like Mariah Carey in "Glitter," or win critical acclaim and a bunch of awards like Jennifer Hudson in "Dreamgirls." The latter rarely happens, as evidenced by the acting debuts of Britney Spears and Kelly Clarkson. Given the alarming similarities that exist in the core plots of Christina Aguilera's "Burlesque" and Carey's "Glitter," it would seem that Aguilera's debut film is headed for the same train-wreck disaster as Carey's.
Aguilera, following the less-than-stellar chart performance of her latest album "Bionic," gets a make-over, and with a range of stunning costumes and marvelous set-designs, attempts to dazzle the audience with her unbelievable pair of lungs that can do even more wonders with some digital alterations. And let's get this out of the way: she is far from the disaster we all anticipated. Her character may not be too interesting, the classic "small girl from a small town with a big dream and a big voice," but she's not at all awkward at portraying the charmingly naïve and innocently cute Ali. She is almost too sweet and good-hearted to be true but hey, in a feel-good musical, who cares about a slight character exaggeration?
Because if there is one thing that "Burlesque" isn't, it's modest. With its endlessly flashy and imaginative stage, a range of sparkly costumes, the never-ending stream of back-up dancers and band members who pop up from nowhere and with choreography that would make most Broadway and West End musicals bow their heads in shame, you would hardly assume that the Burlesque Lounge where Ali ends up in happens to be a "struggling" one. Owned by the legendary performer Tess (Cher) who also has killer pipes, the bar is doing so badly in fact, that there is a sleezy businessman (Eric Dane) who is circling the club like a vulture hoping to take it over from Tess - to turn it into a fancy high-rising building. Ali is the small ray of hope - a hard-working, incredibly talented girl who shows extraordinary potential - both in the vocal department and general showmanship. Tess doesn't' know this to start with of course, and Ali starts off as a waitress. But slowly working her way up the ladder, getting closer and closer to that stage on which is desperate to perform, she meets friends and enemies along the way - more exaggerated characters who have one dimension and one dimension only.
The evil, jealous rival performer is Nikki (Kristen Bell), the bitchy, whiny and devious high-school-girl-type villain who does have the chance to belt out the infamous line "I will not be upstaged by some slut with mutant lungs!" Meow. For every bitchy villain must exist a counterpart who offers our clueless heroine some support. The girl with a heart-of-gold here is Georgia (Julianne Hough), who doesn't end up doing much, other than standing in the background, smiling at all of Ali's successes. There is no development for Georgia and so Hough is left to do her best with a character who seems to have zero personality, and only a slight expansion is given to Nikki. Nikki is an ugly drunk, and has caused problems in the past for Tess. She can mime and dance, but cannot sing like Ali. As the Burlesque Lounge is shifting all of its focus on to Ali, Nikki, the former lead, is worried her time may be up. Ali also befriends a charming bartender named Jack (Cam Gigandet), and despite the fact that he is engaged to a lovely girl in New York (the film is set in Los Angeles, after Ali decides to leave her boring town in Iowa), he lets her crash at his place.
It would be an understatement to point out that so many talented names are put to waste here. Stanley Tucci, playing the gay second-in-command of the Burlesque Lounge channels what he did in "The Devil Wears Prada," and whilst he successfully manages to be a welcome scene-stealer, his scenes are far too brief and scattered all over the place, coming in randomly at various points in the film. Alan Cumming, taking on the role similar to Joel Grey's in "Cabaret" has a few lines, and a brief appearance on stage - which is a colossal waste of his talent in portraying the gender-bending host of Burlesque. Peter Gallagher, acting as Tess' ex-husband as well as her business partner, doesn't do much except whine and look angry at Tess for being so stubborn, and Dane goes around chatting up different dancers, trying to sneak his way into Tess' mind. He is in the Lounge every night, staring at the performers and after a while this act turns beyond creepy. Dianna "Glee's Quinn Fabray" Agron is Jack's fiancée, but her screen-time is barely worth mentioning.
Not a lot of the plot makes coherent sense - Ali's character development is suppressed to the bare minimum, the girls at the Burlesque Lounge aren't known for singing to start with, but as soon as Ali starts, they have no problem adding in some free-style harmonies. It all wraps up too neatly and quickly towards the end - almost to the extent that it quite badly insults the intelligence of one of the supposedly smart and successful businessman. Ali herself isn't a very interesting character - she does have a brief back story. She lost her mother when she was seven - this sets up nicely for Tess to become a mother-figure to the girl who is new to L.A. In a role that is criminally underwritten, Aguilera's acting debut doesn't add up to much - and this is in no way her fault.
But the strengths of "Burlesque" lie entirely in the cast's ability to sing and dance. Aguilera can belt out difficult tunes at any time, hitting the high notes with the kind of strength and guts that have never been seen before. Cher, looking and singing like she's not a day over 40 (she is in fact 60+), carries two of the most memorable songs in the film, one of them being the powerful ballad solo, "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me." It's a hearty tune, sung well by the legendary diva, but the staging of the emotional song fails to pack a real punch. That song is Tess' declaration to the world that she is not giving up no matter what. It's Cher's moment to shine on stage alone, and the whole scene echoes the tone of Jennifer Hudson's "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from "Dreamgirls" but feels no way near as powerful. The camera moves around frantically trying to find the most complementary shot for Cher, but even after minutes of confused, hectic changes, Steve Antin the director, fails to find something that works.
The large stage that proudly occupies almost half of this glossy Lounge does not go to waste, as the choreography makes full use of its seemingly infinite space with a horde of back-up singers and dancers. They have all been trained well, and their energy keeps this film going even during its weakest moments. The script may lack a lot of much-needed character depth, but when it comes to putting on an impressive show, "Burlesque" certainly knows how to keep the audience thoroughly entertained. The inventive costumes on display here are impressive and although this again, goes against the idea that the bar is "struggling," "Burlesque" is undoubtedly a harmless, brainless bit of fun, where the plot's potential and actors' skills are put aside to pack the film with as many shoe-stomping numbers as possible.
"Show a little more, Show a little less..." invites a perma-sarcastic Cher early on in this potentially flawed musical. Musical films have been a little short on the ground in the past couple of years with Mamma Mia scooping large returns at the cinema, whilst being nearly rubbish, and more recently Nine, which was just completely rubbish. Thankfully, Burlesque borrows more from the likes of Chicago, throwing in toe-tapping songs to flesh out a story that is predictable and dated.
Christina Aguilera stars as Ali, a small town girl with big dreams. See, this girl can really carry a tune, but is stuck in a dead end job as a waitress. All the cliche's are dropped in and padded in. Her boss is a letch, her parents are dead, and when she arrives at "Burlesque" she's on her last few dollars. There's nothing like a hard lines story to make us go all dewey eyed over our protagonist. However, we dont. You see its all so contrived in its set up that you cant wait for the musical numbers to take over. When they do, though, its an absolute blast.
Tess is the big hearted owner of Burlesque, a club now down to last chance saloon. Her ex husband is desperate to offload his share of the dead end club, even if it means uncharacteristically shafting Tess into the bargain. When Ali turns up and begs for a job though, it looks like Tess' fortunes may be changing. When she hears Ali's singing voice, she begins to rebuild the Burlesque troupe around her act, putting a few noses out of joint in the process. All the while, more cliche's are shovelled in by the dozen, many of which thankfully add to the raz-ma-taz of the whole ordeal.
My main irk with this film was the fuss that was made about Aguilera's character's singing voice and the fact that the other character's in the film mimed to backing tracks prior to her arrival. Irritatingly, Aguilera proceeds to mime her way through every track she performs. They could at least have attempted to make it look like she was singing live after making such a preverbial song and dance about it. That said, she is a powerful vocalist, with just enough control not to go into the banshee-wailing of similar diva's.
The show really belongs to Cher though. She was hardly going to shuffle off into the background with dignity, but in her robust performance as Tess (a woman probably not unlike Cher herself) she manages to balance the right amount of humour and heartbreak. In early number "Welcome To Burlesque", she manages to put on a display quite fitting of her own concert shows, as does Aguilera on the kitsch number "But I'm A Good Girl". The rest of the numbers waver between generic RnB and overblown balladry, but there are enough instantly hummable numbers to keep us entertained.
There are also just enough big names on display without going overkill. The biggest problem with last year's Nine was that there were so many actors thrown in for pointless disjointed sequences that they were rendered irrelevant. Here, they all serve their perfect purpose, with Alan Cumming being completely under-utilised. Along with Aguilera and Cher, there are also wonderful turns from the incredible Stanley Tucci and Grey's Anatomy's Eric Dane, fast becoming Hollywood's resident handsome sleaze.
What Burleque surprisingly has is a terrific narrative that embraces the use of its songs without bursting into a songfest about last nights dinner at random peaks. It relies very little on the fantasy conventions of its genre, placing much of the story in the "real life" present. It may be completely over the top, and as near cynical as it could get without advertising corsets for H&M, but its a well paced and well meaning piece of work that embraces the fact that it is just pure entertainment for the sake of it. I dont think I've seen anything more entertaining this year so far.
The track "You Haven't Seen The Last Of Me", performed by Cher has already won a myriad of awards, including a Golden Globe. Credit for the enjoyable soundtrack must go to its collection of writers. Most of us will have heard of Linda Perry (who used to sing for the 4 Non Blondes and now writes with Pink) and Diane Warren (she's concocted a hitlist for the who's who of the American ballad songbook). Christina Aguilera also has her hand in the writing on a couple of the songs. The soundtrack is also available on CD, and is a collection of catchy brassy numbers.
The cast includes
Cher as Tess
Christina Aguilera as Ali
Stanley Tucci as Sean
Alan Cumming as Alexis
Eric Dane as Marcus
Cam Gigandet as Jack
Julianne Hough as Georgia
Peter Gallagher as Vince
Kristen Bell as Nikki
The film is directed by Steven Antin. Antin has previously been better known for making music video's, and Burlesque is one of his early directorial's. Its quite apparent that he's most comfortable editing and cutting during the musical numbers, as much of it does look like a flashy music video. He does a fairly decent job with the rest of it, and captures the seedier regions of the film without making it look like a revolting sequel to Showgirls or Striptease. A sprinkle of glitz and cheese all make it a 90 minute feast.
Ever since watching Phantom of the Opera and Chicago, I have loved musicals and this new movie starring Christina Aguilera appeared to be similar, so I gave it ago.
~~~THOUGHTS ON PLOT~~~
Ali (Christina Aguilera) quits her waitressing job and heads to LA, hoping to pursue a career in singing. She stumbles across the "Burlesque Club" and is immediately enticed into this show business. Despite being ignored and rejected by owner Tess (Cher), Ali is determined and starts waitressing at the club at her own free will.
Stumbling in on an audition she was never told about, she gives it her best shot and wows Tess, landing herself a role on stage, leading to a feud with former leading lady Nikki (Kristen Bell). As her popularity rises due to her stunning vocals, Ali is hot property and must decide who she is going to trust in order to succeed.
I felt that the scene is set very quickly. Poor girl with great vocals moves to big city in search of fame and fortune. I love that the feud with Kristen Bell is set almost instantly when she walks into the dressing room, but this is not carried forward enough amidst Ali's quick rise to the stage.
This is perhaps the big flaw to this movie. For a large part of the movie, we are just watching Christina Aguilera belt out stunning vocals to an elaborate stage set, opposed to singing about what troubles her, her problems, things happening in her life etc. There isn't enough sabotage, conflict or corruption between characters that really could take this film to a whole new level.
For instance, Nikki could be much more evil and sabotage Ali in every way she can, steal her man, steal her spotlight etc... but she seems far too passive. Only in one scene does she carry out an active role of sabotage, and only does so in order for the plot to reveal Ali's vocals.
Whilst this movie shares many themes with Coyote Ugly and Chicago, it fails to go that bit further in creating a dynamic and engrossing storyline. Instead, it is too airy fairy and "feel good" in tone. Once she gets on that stage, there is no doubt that she will succeed. No problem seems too great for this girl, and hence the climatic build up isn't one of tension or anxiety but one of due success.
As with all musicals, this one is no different in the beautiful costumes worn by the actresses. I think this is one area this film excels as they are truly elaborate and well thought out, extremely coherent and suited to the song and theme. One of my favourites is the one with the hand prints and another is the pearl dress.
The romantic element in this movie is so cliched- hot man (whose taken) realises he falls for Ali and then goes for her, but he's flawed given he's engaged and then all hell breaks loose when Ali finds out he's been lying to her etc etc... and then all soppy apologies at the end... you get my drift.
Ending wise it is as expected. The tone set out lasts till the end and you KNOW it will be a happy ending. In this way, I guess the climax of the movie was the finale number which was pretty stunning, though not much different to the rest- they were all stunning vocally!
Christina Aguilera- Ali
Kristen Bell- Nikki
Cam Gigandet- Jack
Also stars Peter Gallagher, Eric Dane (Marcus), Dianna Agron and Stanley Tucci.
As I said, Christina Aguilera looks stunning and her vocals were truly amazing. Surprisingly, she was believable playing innocent at the beginning, but good girls go bad, and she definitely suited the more feisty her.
Kristen Bell plays the baddy Nikki and I thought she was good in the bits she was in but wasn't given enough scope for any more depth- she could've been so much more evil- so potential wasted. Bell is too good to be soft.
Cam Gigandet was an ok surprise playing Mr Nice Guy given he was far from nice in "The OC"- he killed Marissa! D: His OC Co-star Peter Gallagher was flat but nice to see Glee star Dianna Agron in the movie.
From the trailer and the first scene of this movie, it feels like a cross between Chicago and Coyote Ugly, but lack of a deep plot and antagonists result in this film falling short of spectacular. Christina Aguilera's vocals were spot on, but she pretty much dominated the vocals and the lack of diversity in song makes this almost like a Christina Aguilera concert DVD themed to Burlesque opposed to a film about Burlesque starring Christina Aguilera. This is a movie Aguilera fans must see, but for the average film goer, this is hit or miss.