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When I originally heard of the concept for Steven Antin's Burlesque, a
movie musical starring pop phenom Christina Aguilera and the legendary
Cher, I was, if you could believe it, less than enthusiastic. I was
under the assumption that this film would be not just bad, but god
awful. Recalling horrid pop star film debuts (ex. Mariah Carey in the
depressingly hollow Glitter, Britney Spears in the mind-numbing
Crossroads) I thought I was in for a cinematic train wreck of epic
proportions. And I'm happy to tell you today, that I couldn't have been
First of all, what makes Burlesque unlike Glitter and Crossroads is its aesthetics. Christina Aguilera's strong voice is enough to carry a film, as it turns out. However, Burlesque has more to fall back on. Cher plays Tess, Aguilera's character's boss and mentor. She can make any film excellent. Secondly, this film is a musical, also unlike Glitter and Crossroads. It shoots for being something of a hybrid between Cabaret and Chicago, and doesn't completely fail. Thirdly, this film has an outstanding supporting cast, including the always great Stanley Tucci, Grey's Anatomy vet Eric Dane, Kristen Bell, Cam Gigandet, and Alan Cumming, and these folks bring enough liveliness to save even the worst film, but here, they only add to the fun and excitement.
The story is really nothing new. Small-town girl Ali (Aguilera) leaves her job as an Iowan waitress, and heads for the big lights of Los Angeles. She stumbles upon a burlesque club run by Tess (Cher), starts working her way up, and eventually becomes the main attraction, with her intense vocal range and elaborate interpretations of dance numbers, which turns out to be a godsend for Tess, who is about to lose her club. She starts living with the charismatic and sexy bartender Jack (Cam Gigandet), after her apartment gets robbed. Romance ensues, and things go from there.
Cliché, right? It's been done before, right? Right. There isn't a section of this film that isn't even a little bit corny. But, that's not to say it's not a load of fun. I'm sorry, Harry Potter, Burlesque is the film event of the Thanksgiving holiday. Christina Aguilera isn't a fantastic actress, but she's better than you would expect her to be, and her song-and-dance numbers, obviously, are fantastic, as one would expect.
She and Cher have fantastic chemistry, as well as Cher and Stanley Tucci. All of these actors blend together so well, that they seem to compliment each other, enhancing each performance. And, I was rather disappointed to see that Cher only sang two out of the film's ten musical numbers, but it's safe to say that that's not enough, considering that she can still belt the hell out of these songs. However, Cher's obvious plastic surgeries don't help her performance, considering that her face barely moves throughout the entire picture, but she's still able to pull this role off, somehow.
Steven Antin is a director whom I've never heard of, however, I was fairly impressed. The film is directed with impeccable taste, and the writing is very quick and clever, and humorous, even when a little corny.
However, what really saves Burlesque in the end is its elaborate song- and-dance numbers. Soon after the movie begins, you know what kind of film you're in for. Even as cliché after cliché presents themselves, Burlesque has enough razzle-dazzle magic to outweigh its faults, and to leave you dancing in the aisles as you leave this film.
The musical numbers reminded me of "Sweet Charity" and the camera moves around the Kit Kat Klub style room like Fosse's camera did in "Cabaret" The similarities stop there. The film is a brave attempt but the writing walks a very, very thin line. Was Steve Antin trying to be funny? Some of the lines were received with loud guffaws and there is no way to know if that was the intention because, personally, I felt like cringing. Never mind. It was fun. Christina has a powerful voice but not film presence and Cher is a fearless icon but she had so little to show for it. The best performance is, without question, by Stanley Tucci. The songs work at the moment you're watching them being performed but I couldn't hum a tune now, 48 hours later, for the life of me. So, I was entertained and in the big scheme of things, I guess that's enough
I can easily summarize this film into short sentences. This film has everything, everything but a plot that is. What you should expect from Burlesque is almost two hours of high powered entertainment. Burlesque is just that, entertaining. If you are going to this film to witness a great storyline unfold don't go see this film. However, if you want to be entertained with great vocals from Christina Aguilera and Cher in addition to great acting from Peter Gallagher, Stanley Tucci, Alan Cummings, and again Cher then this film is a must see. I must say prior to the screening that I attended, I was very apprehensive that I was going to see a product that resembled a "Nine" / "Coyote Ugly" blend of a film, but I was certainly wrong. Burlesque holds itself above the rest of the films in its category. The film obviously cost a lot to produce and I believe that the money was well spent. Cher's performance was excellent. Say what you want about the person, but the actress conveys a confidence level in front of the camera as though she has done this a hundred times. Stanley Tucci is also quite merit worthy in this film. His performance in "Lovely Bones" is still haunting and his role as Cher's right-hand gay best friend/costume designer in this film just shows what incredible range this actor has. The costume design, casting, choreography and set design for this film are also worthy of mention. You can count on this film definitely being nominated in the Best Film in Comedy or Musical category for the Golden Globes in December. This film will also do incredibly well at the box office. I would have no problem watching this film again.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie wore out both my BS detector and my suspension of disbelief.
It should be prosecuted under the Trades Description Act, and sued by Rob Marshall and the estate of Bob Fosse for plagiarism. Because it ain't burlesque, and it rips off too many elements from Marshall's film of "Chicago" and Fosse's choreography, for me to count.
This movie is as true a glimpse of the real burlesque scene, as "Showgirls" was of the real traditional Vegas showgirl scene. But "Showgirls" had a slightly more believable plot.
Here's a suggestion for Steve Antin: How about making a movie called "Girl Group", with only one musical number in it? After all, you've given us a movie called "Burlesque" with only ONE actual burlesque number in it. The rest is just a rip-off of your sister's Pussycat Dolls routines. Especially that final number. THAT was the song that took so long for the hero to write??? THAT was the song that was so deeply personal that he couldn't share it with anyone until he felt it was perfect??? No wonder my BS detector wore out.
The costumes are gorgeous (hence the 3 stars from me), but they're the only things that made this movie remotely tolerable. And the camera never held still long enough for me to get a really good look at them. (Note to all directors: If you're spending that much on costumes, for god's sake, let us see them and appreciate them!) Also, as someone who is active in the burlesque scene, I must point out that merely wearing a burlesque style costume does NOT make someone into a burlesque performer any more than wearing spike heels and a miniskirt makes a nun into a streetwalker.
Vocally, Christina Aguilera and Cher both have amazing voices. But does every song they sing have to be a power-ballad with all those full-out wails and cadenzas? Enough, already! Those songs and vocal gymnastics lose their dramatic power when they're all we ever get to hear.
All in all, "Burlesque" was 2 hours of my life that I won't be getting back.
At times I can be a bit snobby about movies. I am more attracted to
slow artsy fartsy movies that try make grand points about society or
existence. However, not all movies are to meant to challenge social
structures or deliver underlying meanings and here there certainly is
none of that.... and I liked it!
Burlesque is a little cheesy, yup, filled with clichés, uh huh, predictable, you betcha! That is all part of it's charm though. It set out to be a fun romp with some sexy outfits and entertaining song numbers and it delivered. There is no great villain, there is no great backstabbing - which in someways is more realistic. It doesn't try to have an overly deep plot. It knows it's superficial and embraces it. Did anyone ever doubt Christina could sing? Her voice is amazing and her acting ain't bad either. Cher is well, Cher and how can anyone not love her? Stanley Tucci certainly steals the show while Cam Gigandet provides some delicious eye candy. If you want to be visually and audibly entertained for about an hour and a half, shut your brain off, sit back and enjoy Burlesque. Disclaimer: this recommendation does not pertain to men, unless you are a man of the Cher-loving variety. Despite a burlesque club technically being a 'strip club' this movie is certainly geared for the ladies.
So, it's a movie about a lounge with signers and dancers. It's not a
musical, but you expect to see dancing, sexy and songs. Burlesque
delivers on all account, it's sexy without being naked, it's fun, the
music is great.
I don't know why so many reviewers here say that Christina Aguilera is a bad actress, she gave quite a decent performance considering that, well, she is not an actress. And while Cher is not on the screen all the time, she is fantastic. For a woman in her sixties, wow...
The movie made me buy the soundtrack, Christina know how to sing and she is very good.
As for the background stories (lounge on the verge of closing, love interest), they are there to give the movie some meaning but are not overly invading on the main content witch is signing and dancing. Those background stories are were the movie lost my 2 points, because you don't quite feel the urgency, stress of Tess money problems, everything runs like there is no problem at all.
All in all, it's a good, entertaining movie. It's gonna be in my blu-ray collection, just for the music and dancing alone.
I, unlike a lot of people in lieu to it's box office results, really
wanted to see Burlesque. I am not necessarily a Christina Aguilera fan,
though she has made a lot of songs I like, same deal for Cher, and
though the movie did not seem like it would be a 10/10, it looked
insanely fun for my tastes and I had been invited by my friend and her
mom to go see it with them. We were all fairly excited, after seeing
the previews and hearing of what reception it did get from audiences
was generally well perceived, and, directly after it was over, were
pleased to admit that all three of us really enjoyed it and were not
There is not really many downsides to this movie, in my honest opinion, that can not be made up for with other material. For example: The songs, while not all are memorable, make the movie ultimately more enjoyable, and have some nice choreography to the dances that were made for them. "Show Me How to Burlesque" is my favorite song, with Cher's "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" and another song, that incongruently and infuriatingly is not listed in the soundtrack titles on here, and did not have a really huge part in the movie other than it being my favorite dance sequence, besides "Show Me How to Burlesque", being two other very catchy songs in the movie, as well. The others felt like they were there merely to fill time, because I personally did not find them that special.
There's not really any brand new, awesome material, but it really is much better than people would expect in terms of entertainment and professionalism. Christina Aguilera has got some pipes. Whether you like her vocals or not, she can hit and hold a note, and she really is not that bad of an actress. She wasn't in this film, at least, and while we are at it, neither was Cher; both gave pretty believable and likable performances. Everyone gave a likable performance both acting and music wise, especially my man candy Cam Gigandet. You could grate cheese on that boy's body. There is a nice touch of comedy here and there from Alan Cumming, Stanley Tucci, and a very cute and well done scene between Aguilera and Gigandet that involves a nice shot of Gigandet's bottom and another mishap in that scene that will make anyone crave "the box of cookies" at that exact moment. (I love Cam Gigandet.)
Moving on, another aspect is the movie has got excellent, sparkly costumes during some flashy, risqué sequences that could possibly make anyone have a seizure who was not thoroughly prepared. Another of my favorite things is it has got beautiful, and I mean beautiful lighting, and wonderful make-up in many scenes making the actors, actresses and settings look picturesque and crisp. Steve Antin, while not an amazing director, does a very nice job, and does an even better job with the writing, even if the script is not Oscar worthy. Like I have said, it is not going to be held in cinema history as the next Casablanca, or Godfather, few movies are nowadays, but this was an enjoyable experience for many reasons and I encourage anyone who thinks they can handle it for what it is to see it.
The state of American film in the 21st Century has been generally
abysmal but nowhere is it more evident than in the film musical. Taking
the most honored of the period Chicago, a Fosse wanta be with bad
performances and forgettable tunes as the benchmark it is more than
evident all singing all dancing has lost its voice and more than a
step. The latest entry and every bit the tepid much ado about nothing
heat and light display of flaccid musical storytelling as the Oscar
winner (an even bigger comment on the unimaginative state of the movie
business) is the insipidly slick Burlesque.
Stop me if you've heard this. Young impressionable girl with massive hidden talent leaves the land of corn for the bright lights of LA where she stumbles upon a run down anachronism with a crusty but understanding owner still in it for love of the game who gives the kid a break and, well you can fill in the rest.
In the role of Judy Garland Christine Aguleria sings the blues with impressive voice but it's all plastic soul and slumming for the former mouseketeer who presents an unintentionally jarring visual context of an Aryan uber babe singing Bessie Smith. Speaking of plastic Cher all polished and waxed like an antique Oldsmobile splits her time offering sage advice and sarcasm. In addition she does a couple of tunes with her signature howl wrapped as always in distracting outfit and opulent stagecraft to soften its blow. There's some male characters whose purpose it seems is to stand around with expressions of awe for the divas and of course the serious pyrotechnics surrounding the noir dance numbers that attempts to put some make-up on this pig but in the end it is all forced Fosse.
Burlesque may have started out as a dazzling, lip-sync singing French
twist sensation but when a talented girl from a small town takes center
stage belching out loud piercing notes screaming with soul, "You know
something got a hold of you and won't let go."
The director starts out with scenes in dingy, crusty locations, overshadowed with filtered sunlight to create an outdated, old fashion look. These scenes failed to capture a unique cinematic vision, instead the views were dark and dull. His blend of melodrama and music worked better than Chicago because singing was sung only on stage. No phantom of the opera to bring tears, just a busting out movie that went straight to the point--I want to sing!
Ms small town girl named Ali, played by Christina Aguilera, changed cities but couldn't quite change her waitress uniform. She worked her way to that familiar job, when charmed by neon lights, she opened the door to a new world, Welcome to Burlesque. As she looked around, she watched the bickering and cat fights among the dancers and how shamefully patrons weren't getting their drinks. So, she took charge by befriending Jack the bartender played by Cam Gigandet, then moved from the unemployment line to waiting on tables and serving drinks. Tess, the club owner played by Cher, told her she has great enthusiasm and terrible timing. However, in the midst of all this tension whiplash, Tess told Ali to take off her coat and get to work.
Ali studied hard by reading every burlesque book ever written. She demonstrated a fierce determination that she could do every dance, every scene, step by step better than the other girls at the audition . She was impressive and landed the job. Now here's the catch 22, people pay to see the dancers lip sync to the great stars like Marilyn Monroe's "Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend." There is no live singing at Burlesque. What is a girl to do with all that vocal talent? Well, she could be lucky to have a vengeful enemy like Nikki who turns off the pre-recorded music during her lip sync stage performance. Surely for Nikki that has to be the biggest mistake, huge mistake, right? Right. So the rest, as they say, is history! Tess rewrites the whole show around Ali's voice and the small town girl is now center stage on Hollywood Sunset Stripe.
Cher's performance was better than great, it was awesome. She delivers a warm touchy feeling convincing me she owned the club, she loved the club and she wasn't selling her club. Hard set and beautiful, standing tall and confident, singing " You Haven't Seen the Last of Me;" Cher is a true goddess, definitive of stage and production. I needed to see more and more of her . You can't get enough of Cher and her makeup, her hair and her famous, I know everything attitude.
Christina is the sweetest part of the movie. She worked Burlesque from the beginning to the end with an Eminem's 8 mile state of mind, you only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow. Without a doubt, she definitely lost herself in the music, the moment, and the dancing. When you know you got it, you go get it. She wore skimpy cultured pearls, juicy bareback couture glittering with diamonds, and holding ostrich feathers only, as she paraded the stage singing slow songs, old songs and hip hop songs. Her roommate Jack, black eyeliner by night, is the movie's secret eye candy. Well built, nice teeth, and shy, he gives us a little touch of burlesque with his steamy and lusty private moves. And of course we need to mention Sean played by Stanley Tucci. He held the movie together or should I say he held Tess together.
Burlesque is an eye-popping never boring cinematic experience that will entertain you with grandeur songs from the present and the past. As you experience this razzle dazzle movie, you can actually feel the music. To me, Burlesque mirrors Purple Rain's electrifying energy that generated from a club of talented, struggling performers and a sidekick love affair. Christina and Cher in Burlesque will be remembered like Prince in Purple Rain. You have to see it again and again, because true talent never ages, its ageless. I just loved every mind- blowing performance and I'm sure you will too, so GO see it!!
Like the name implies, "Burlesque" was lofty, dramatic and musically
ambitious. Unlike the name, I think it was too serious to be much of a
parody of stage-shows. Cher is an actress, an Academy Award winning
actress at that, but there was minimal evidence of intentional
A small-town Iowa waitress pursues her dreams and high-tails it to Los Angeles. Ali has way too much audacity for her own good but it does get her a job, two scrumptious boyfriends, and into the burlesque show. Of course it does. Alice, you are in wonderland now. At least when lines like that are delivered by Stanley Tucci they are pretty funny.
The film did have a plot with questions along the lines of: Will Ali realize her dreams of singing and dancing? Will she meet the man of her dreams? And more importantly, will Tess (Cher) save her club from financial ruin? The latter storyline might actually matter if the rest of the film wasn't littered with outlandish sets, costumes and lighting. But "Burlesque" is also what it claims to beentertaining. Well, mildly entertaining. Christina Aguilera can sing, Cher and Stanley Tucci have good comedic chemistry, and Cam Gigandet is one of the hottest young actors around.
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