If you're a fan of pop music videos, Christina Aguilera or Cher, then you're in for a treat with Burlesque. What you shouldn't expect is any great plot, acting or cinematic spectacle. Having said that, I think it's a fun holiday film and the fact that as I type this I'm listening to the Burlesque movie soundtrack is proof enough that it's a great bit of musical fluff to entertain and cheer you up.
The basic plot revolves around Christina's small town girl who moves to the glittering lights of L.A. to make her fortune. She discovers Cher's ailing Burlesque club lounge and goes from plucky waitress to overnight singing and dancing sensation. It's like a musical fairytale, with lots of cleavage, diamonds and feathers combined with Christina Aguilera's distinctive set of lungs.
Look away now if you don't want me to spoil too much of the movie for you. You've been warned.
Some of the things that really annoyed me about the movie was the weak by-the-numbers story, there really were few surprises and it's pretty much a happily ever after tale.
Whenever they showed shots of the audience, all I saw were smiling beautiful women patrons. Even given the resurgence in popularity of the Burlesque genre popularised by the likes of Dita Von Tesse, I still don't believe there wouldn't be a few more lechy and leering men, just interested in the scantily clad ladies on stage.
Original costumes worn by Christina Aguilera in Burlesque
Cher doesn't really have that much to do in the movie, although I loved her chemistry with Stanley Tucci. And Alan Cumming was just criminally underused in the movie.
I'm also sure it was written into the divas contracts but I was really surprised that there was no duet with the two pop icons in the movie, a bit of a disappointment really.
Other things that made me laugh, and surely were contractually added to the script, were lines Christina's character like 'you have such a beautiful face' or 'where did that voice come from', or words to that effect. They were ever so slightly groan worthy.
Actual outfits worn by Christina Aguilera in Burlesque
Another perplexing thing was how the small club stage seemed to grow in size from the start of the movie when it seemed like a really intimate cabaret space, to the climax when giant Burlesque letters seem to sit atop a massive arena-like stage.
Having said all that there are some really great dance numbers and standout new songs, but it's certainly not as fantastical as Chicago or Moulin Rouge, and maybe would have benefitted from a bit more theatricality rather than realism.
Overall I give Burlesque an entertaining three *** stars. I'm sure Christina fans will be delighted, but vocally there's no real departure here in her vocals and she certainly needs more acting classes before she stars in another movie.
Be sure to check out more photos of Christina Aguilera's Burlesque movie costumes at my Hollywood Movie Costumes and Props blog.
Welcome to Burlesque, I hope you enjoy the experience...