Just so you know, this was my wife’s choice of entertainment a few nights ago. We tend to trade off; I’ll pick a movie, then she picks one. I’m just informing you of the situation, because Burlesque isn’t the kind of thing I watch all the time. You might think I’m going to rip it a new one, but while it’s not a good movie, there are things to enjoy about it. I’m pretty sure you can figure out what one of those things is, but I’ll keep you in suspense until you click through. I’m diabolical that way.
I’ll get all the bad stuff out of the way first. It’s basically every cliched story about young people wanting to be famous rolled up into a single movie. Christina Aguilera plays Ali, who’s – you guessed it – a girl from a small town just looking to make it big. Of course, the burlesque club she wants to work at happens to be in financial trouble and is about to get shut down. Tess, the owner (Cher), is desperately in need of a new act to spice up the show and bring new asses in the seats. What a coincidence! Yep, Aguilera ends up saving the day with her amazing vocals and choreographed routines. Then there’s the love interest who’s also musically inclined but has never finished a song. They don’t get together until near the end, because he just can’t see a good thing when it’s right in front of him. Blah, blah, it’s the same exact shit you’ve seen in a million other movies.
That’s really all the bad there is, so while my actual list of flaws isn’t huge, that’s because it’s the general idea that I’m against. Other than that, it’s solidly acted, sidesteps at least a few cliches, and has a lot of eye candy for people like me who might not be, uh, not as interested otherwise.
Ah, yes. Did you see that coming? It shouldn’t be that much of a surprise that the girls kept me more invested than I should have been. In a nutshell, this movie is a less trashy Showgirls. Plus, Burlesque has Kristen Bell, which Showgirls is sorely lacking. For starters, her character is another bad cliche. Until Aguilera shows up, she’s the joint’s main girl, and she doesn’t take kindly to being upstaged. She’s also a raging drunk, so that was working against her. But I admired how the movie didn’t bring that whole horrible bitch situation to a ridiculous head. She pretty much gets over it, which you don’t often see in movies like this. Well, Bell tried to bring the house down on Aguilera, but she didn’t know her voice could implode organs with sheer volume. All of that aside, Kristen Bell does a routine in one of these numbers:
In case you skipped that last picture, it’s cool. I have another one:
Then there’s the redhead that looks like Lindsay Lohan should look right now. I kinda wish she had a bigger part.
On the polar opposite of the spectrum, Cher looks like she painted her face once, and it dried. From the bottom of her eyelids to the top of her eyebrows, she can emote. Her lips also still move around a bit, but everything in-between is stuck in permanent cryo-sleep. That might sound harsh, but Jesus. That much plastic surgery should either be illegal or kill you. That being said, I actually really like her. She makes her character seem like a tad bit more than the script allows for. Just for the record, I think her singing voice has dropped an octave. It’s unique and pretty sweet, but holy crap is it deep.
The last thing I’ll say is that it’s very close to cheating to have Stanley Tucci in your movie. Captain America almost learned that too late, but it was able to kill him off before he did anything worthwhile.
So, in the end, I can’t in good conscience recommend Burlesque to anyone who isn’t in it for the music, music, music. In that department, you’ll be satisfied, but as a movie? It’s a retread of everything this kind of thing has always been. Come for Christina’s voice and assets, and stay for…yea, that.