“Burlesque” is not so much a movie as an elongated musical video.
It’s like the old-fashioned song-and-dance musicals, except this
one boasts stage routines that are a lot more suggestive.
It’s rated PG-13---they were careful not to fall into the trap of
actually revealing anything that would give it an “R” rating---but the
racy material is definitely not for children.
“Burlesque” is a showcase for Christina Aguilera, who’s both a
successful singer and dancer (“Dancing With The Stars”) in her own
right, but it also features a couple of surprisingly powerful numbers from
the ageless Cher, whose unique voice still has that husky, resonant quality
that has made her a star for…five decades now?
And yes, we catch the irony that the name of her big opening number
is “You Haven’t Seen The Last Of Me.”
Naturally, there’s some excuse for a plot, one which has been
worked over so many times it’s a caricature:
country girl (from someplace in
) comes to the big city (
) to make a name for herself, and winds up waitressing in a burlesque club.
No big surprise there. The
owner of the club, Tess (Cher) is a former dancer who still takes the stage
sometimes, but mostly she just runs the club, uncomfortably, with her ex
(Peter Gallagher) who still holds a half-interest (and is less than
half-interested in keeping the club open).
Tess’ sidekick is Sean (Stanley Tucci), the obligatory gay stage
manager who helps all the girls with their costumes, walks freely in and out
while they’re dressing, and sometimes referees the occasional cat fight.
Our wide-eyed winsome newcomer, Ali (Aguilera), can’t even get an
audition. But she just picks up
a drink tray from the bar one night, determined to work there, anyway, and
learns the dance routines vicariously, and when one of the dancers is
suddenly sick, she gets her big chance.
But they all work on a lip-sync kind of format, Tess being convinced
that “they don’t want to hear you, they want to see you.”
(Read: They want to see
you writhe rhythmically on the stage in a skimpy leotard.)
Meanwhile, Ali has a crush on the bartender, Jack (Cam Gigandet),
who’s supposed to have a fiancée, living far away, but that doesn’t
stop Ali and Jack from moving in together, naturally on a platonic basis,
just to share expenses, you know, and we all know where this is headed.
Eventually, of course, Ali gets her big chance to sing, and even the
acerbic Tess recognizes real talent when she hears it, and immediately
throws out the background cd’s and goes to live performance (they
conveniently already had a good band who played during breaks), and Ali is
the new star. There’s still
the side plot of the rich businessman Marcus (Eric Dane of “Gray’s
Anatomy” fame) trying to buy out the club and woo Ali, while he’s at it,
but the veteran troupe is like family, and they all stick together.
Yes, the acting is uneven, and the plot is corny, and grown men will
stay away from this film in droves. But
the musical production numbers are really sensational, and the soundtrack is
now the number one seller on US Itunes.
Christina Aguilera is a legitimate star, and here she has a chance to
really shine. Expect
“Burlesque” to attract some attention, if not at the Oscars (which hates
musicals), at least in the musical or costume categories at the Golden
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace