‘Burlesque’ is a new all-singing, all-dancing, musical extravaganza, staring celebrated performers Cher and Christina Aguilera. The storyline falls firmly in the cliché category: Ali (Aguilera), a small town girl from Iowa, moves to LA to escape her humdrum life and, after the requisite day of traipsing around the city searching for work as a dancer, she winds up at a “burlesque” club where she uses her skills as a waitress to stick around and immerse herself in the scene.
The club is in serious financial trouble, but with the (shocking!) revelation that Ali has an amazing singing voice, it enjoys new found popularity and the owner, Tess (Cher), is determined to hang on to her business. Throw in a hot young barman (who you’ll be amazed to learn is actually a self-doubting composer), with a conveniently absent fiancé, on whose couch Ali crashes, and you’ve got the romance side of the story also taken care of.
Despite what you might expect, burlesque performance does not feature heavily in this film and one can only assume they went for that name because ‘Cabaret’ was taken. There are one or two sequences that could be considered true to the genre but the dominant performance form in the film is probably more closely aligned to musical theatre – and many sequences do a very good impression of a music video clip. The other major issue is that, despite the plot hinging on the fact that Ali starts to draw the crowds with her stunning live singing voice, all of the musical numbers are quite clearly being mimed and have been produced to within an inch of their life.
However, there are also redeeming features. Setting aside the pre-recording, both Aguilera and Cher perform powerful numbers which showcase their voices and will no doubt appeal greatly to fans of their music. There will also be a wider audience for this film, with the recent rise of shows such as ‘Glee’ indicating that the formulated musical genre is popular right now. The other impressive feature is the costuming throughout the musical numbers, with the girls’ seemingly endless wardrobe adding some visual delight (and possibly going some way to explain the financial situation Tess finds herself in).
This is not a life changing movie but it does provide a pleasant two hour distraction and is light-hearted holiday viewing that doesn’t require too much brain power.
Kryztoff rating: 3.5K
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