Sunday, February 20, 2011

Burlesque **

Director: Steven Antin
Cast: Cher, Christina Aguilera
Eric Dane, Cam Gigandet, Kristen Bell, Dianna Agron
Alan Cumming, Peter Gallagher, Stanley Tucci

If The Pussycat Dolls could sing and had been discovered by Cher, their story would look something like Burlesque.
The story in the film has been told a million times (and in much better ways) but here's the deal:
Ali (Aguilera) is a small town girl trying to make it in Los Angeles, who just happens to sing like Christina Aguilera.
Tess (Cher) is a club owner trying her best to save her club from a real estate mogul (Dane) who wants to buy it from her, of course the club's not doing well and the only thing that could save them would be a new star...
Things do go as you expect them to and the movie pretends it's not about how well they tell the story but about how it looks.
The musical numbers are done in a Bob Fosse-meets a Kylie Minogue concert way and as such are quite effective. There's lots of lights, lots of feathers, more hot girls than Tess could ever afford to keep on payroll and of course Aguilera squeezes those pipes like there's no tomorrow.
Yet the thing is that for all of its flash and glitter, the movie can't help but feel absolutely lacking. For instance the second Aguilera comes onscreen (which is immediately after the studio logos appear) we know the gal can sing (in fact she does a number by herself as soon as the opening credits appear).
So when the moment comes for Tess and the club people to realize she has a talent, the audience is way knowledgeable of this fact (not to mention that Aguilera isn't much of an actress and Ali really comes often looking as a poorly dressed version of the singer).
In between numbers we get glimpses of the characters' lives and Aguilera gets a love triangle (with the efficiently cute Gigandet and Dane), Tess gets rejected by banks and other characters fill stock roles with grace (would've been fantastic to see more of Kristen Bell's bitchy Nikki).
The movie is instantly forgettable but boy do we come out craving more Cher. Her appearances are quite limited and she does the best numbers in the movie but we just can't get enough of her attitude, her flawless skin and her stingy one-liners (her chemistry with Tucci who technically reprises his character from The Devil Wears Prada) is just fantastic.
But Burlesque will not please those who expect their films to make any sense and demand more than lights and heavy makeup to have a good time at the movies.
For those, a complimentary cocktail or two are a must before entering this club.

No comments: