Burlesque

1 Dec

Title: Burlesque
Year:
2010
Director:
Steve Antin
Writer:
Steve Antin
Starring:
Cher, Christina Aguilera, Eric Dane, Cam Gigandet, Julianne Hough, Alan Cumming, Peter Gallagher, Kristen Bell, Stanley Tucci, Dianna Agron
MPAA Rating:
PG-13, sexual content including several suggestive dance routines, partial nudity, language and some thematic material
Runtime:
100 min
Major Awards:
1 Golden Globe
IMDb Rating:
6.4
Rotten Tomatoes:
34%

I guess I knew what I was going to get when I watched Burlesque. And I knew the comparisons to Showgirls were going to be inevitable because this was a very campy and cliché-ladden form of entertaiment. However, Showgirls is the sort of film that’s famous because it’s so bad it’s actually good in a guilty pleasure sort of way. Burlesque, however, doesn’t sink as low, but at the same time it’s nowhere near being good either, which means it won’t ultimately achieve as much as Showgirls. Add that to the fact that the cast this film had was actually pretty damn awesome, and that Christina Aguilera proved to be actually competent in it, and you have to feel bad for this, it could have been something decent, instead it’s trapped in the reins of mediocrity.

And that’s the thing, if Burlesque was going to be memorable without being good like Chicago it needed to be more camp, it didn’t necessarily need to have a Showgirls vibe, but I do think it would have benefited from an R-rating instead of the PG-13 it got. That would have enabled it to go farther, and not fall into the forgetful gap that lies between the aforementioned two films which will forever be my spectrum when judging these sort of affairs, you either have to be crazy and go all out like Showgirls, or you really have to know your shit and execute crazy well, like Chicago did.

And as I said, this is all the more pitiful when you consider the stars lined up for this one, they could have made for a far more entertaining film. Especially Stanely Tucci, who’s always wonderful no matter the type of movie he’s in, and in this one that doesn’t change, he’s the MVP of Burlesque by a long mile. Though I did love to see Julianne Hough on screen, I missed her on Dancing with the Stars this season and I think she’s great, so seeing her here was a most welcome sight.

Now, like I said before, Christina Aguilera in here is much better than you’d expect. Not to say the girl’s terrific, because she’s not, but I thought she’d tank under the pressure to carry the whole film, and she didn’t. Granted, her performance is like one big extended take of her Lady Marmalade video, but in a film that requires not much more than that, it looks like a pretty decent one.

And that’s mostly because Burlesque does indeed play more like one big elaborate music video than it does as a feature film. And we’ve all known for quite some time that Ms. Aguilera has an exquisite voice and can strut herself on the dance floor, and considering the songs are decent enough and the costumes are pretty this one fares quite okay for a while.

But just for a while, because once you start focusing on the plot you’ll notice it’s one that’s been recycled from countless other films, and that Steve Antin, the first time director,  just wanted enough silly plot points to get from one musical bit to the next.

Ms. Aguilera plays the smalltown girl who comes to Hollywood searching for stardom but hits a very rough patch only to then be rescued by some sort of experience fairy god mother who’ll nurture her talent, that would be Cher’s role, all the while being wooed by a couple of very different sort of guys, which would be Eric Dane and Cam Gigandet. Yes, you’ve heard this one before, this one just has more dance numbers in it.

Now, about Cher, obviously her fans will eat this one up because she’s Cher and they love her, but I was disappointed with her. Or actually, not with her but with Mr. Antin, who also wrote the film, because Cher is a woman that actually has an Oscar to her name and has acted very well in the past, but the material she gets in this one is ghastly, and she can’t do anything with it, and she seriously deserves much much better than that.

So yes, in Burlesque we get a Christina Aguilera who does fine, not necessarily because she can act but because she can sure as hell sing and dance. And that’s what Burlesque is all about, it’s all very shiny and has a few neat musical numbers, but it’s nothing more than that. And it could have been more than that, either on the good side or on the bad side, with these films this mid-point just doesn’t cut it and it could have used a more enunciated camp factor. And it’s a waste of the amazing Stanley Tucci. Go check it out if you like seeing Cher, if not, you’re fine just skipping it.

Grade: C+

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