by M. Faust
Unless you’re a fan of Christina Aguilera, in which case you’ve probably already seen this twice, I can only think of three reasons why you might want to buy a ticket. And you will be disappointed in each case.
First of all, it has nothing to do with burlesque, whatever definition of the word you want to use. (The fact that it’s rated PG-13 should be a clue there.) The currently popular neo-burlesque maintains the raciness of the tradition, but aside from one number employing a large feathered fan, all you’ll find here are pseudo-Cabaret numbers with dancers in tame Frederick’s of Hollywood costumes lip-syncing to an uninspired assortment of songs.
Second, despite the fact that she gets star billing, this is not a starring role for Cher. I sat through half the movie wondering why she even bothered to take the role (a club owner whose business is revived by the awesome talent of Iowa escapee Christina). But when it was time for her song, “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me,” I understood: She wants to kick off a new world tour. (You didn’t really believe all that stuff about retiring, did you?) The number is so indifferently staged that it appears to have been shoehorned into the movie as an enticement for her to sign up. Fans would be advised to wait for her to tour again, as film is not a kind vehicle for an actress who has nip-and-tucked herself into resembling one of the drag queens who impersonate her.
(An aside to fans of co-stars of Stanley Tucci and Alan Cummings: The former reprises his character from The Devil Wears Prada, the latter is barely seen aside from a number ripped off from Cabaret’s “Two Ladies.”)
One last chance: You’re just a fan of bad movies, and you’re hoping this will be another Showgirls. Sorry again. It’s not ambitious enough to sink to that level. Writer-director Steve Antin may be gay but he shows no interest in camp, contenting himself with the blandest storylines to hold together musical numbers that wear their influences on their sleeves but never take off. (What else can you expect from someone who has been so involved with the Pussycat Dolls?) There was exactly one enjoyably risible line: “How many times have I held your head in the toilet while you threw up everything but your memories?” Burlesque is a lot easier to forget than that.
Watch the trailer for Burlesque
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