The Burlesque Lounge has its best days behind it. Tess, a retired dancer and owner of the venue, struggles to keep the aging theater alive, facing all kinds of financial and artistic challenges. With the Lounge's troupe members becoming increasingly distracted by personal problems and a threat coming from a wealthy businessman's quest to buy the spot from Tess, the good fortune seems to have abandoned the club altogether. Meanwhile, the life of Ali, a small-town girl from Iowa, is about to change dramatically. Hired by Tess as a waitress at the Lounge, Ali escapes a hollow past and quickly falls in love with the art of burlesque. Backed by newfound friends amongst the theater's crew, she manages to fulfill her dreams of being on stage herself. Things take a dramatic turn though when Ali's big voice makes her become the main attraction of the revue.Written by
I waited a long time to write this review. I liked the film a great deal but I'm not so sure everyone will. It is entertaining in the way of old fashioned entertainment. Other people in the theater I attended liked it a lot also. That was easy to ascertain by the loud comments both during and after the film.
The story, itself, is a little shallow, mainly it's there as a means to fill in the space in between the elaborate musical numbers. However, the story is enough for the vehicle it carries, happy ending and all.
Cher, as the club owner Tess, has top billing but the entire show is undoubtedly Christina Aguilera as country-girl turned burlesque performer Ali. I'm old enough to say that in my life I've seen most of the premiere singing performers of modern times, many in live concert. Little Christina Aguilera is not just in a class by herself. Ms. Aguilera is in another universe, perhaps even another dimension. Her voice has a tonal quality, a power and a range that is nothing short of staggering. But the best part is that she knows how to make fullest use of that magnificent instrument.
Every second that Christina Aguilera is on screen she is absolutely riveting. You can't take your eyes off of her; and not just because she's remarkably beautiful. Here she is in this film, surrounded by a good number of extremely beautiful and talented women, yet they all seem to fade into the background fog when she is on. She has something more than beauty. She radiates raw animal magnetism and positively smolders in some kind of unidentifiable sexual power that just plain overshadows everything around her. In short, this film is well worth watching just for Aguilara's screen time.
If you can tear yourself away from watching Christina, there is more here to see. All the participants turn in great performances. All the dancers surrounding her are talented and wonderful to watch. All together they create very memorable entertainment. Kristen Bell as Nikki and Julianne Hough as Georgia are great but it's Bell who is the surprise. Being so used to seeing her as the usual blonde adornment in romantic comedies she surprised me with her dancing talent. She's really good. And, Hough is a given in a dancing costume; as flawlessly great as she is beautiful.
For me, the performance I enjoyed the most other than Christina's was Stanley Tucci as Sean. Mr. Tucci is a great talent who adds character and charm to everything he does and he won't disappoint anyone here.
I saved any negatives for last and none have anything to do with the cast. I found I didn't like the sound the way it was presented. The techniques they used tended to make the performances almost look like they were all canned/lip synced. I'm sure they thought the vocals had more power the way they did them but it truthfully detracted from the overall presentation.
The decision to make a PG-13 rated film was, no doubt, made to try and capture the kiddie ticket buyers. I honestly feel that if they actually pulled out the stops and made an honest R rated film with a more adult slant it would have been better and more profitable in the long run. To me, trying to make anything called "BURLESQUE" anything other than an adult film just seems ludicrous on the face of it.
In spite of the negatives it's still entertaining. I'll take friends to see it with a clear conscience.
By Bruce L. Jones
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