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A small town singer, Ali (Christina Aguilera), moves to the big city for her chance at stardom where she is enchanted by Burlesque, a glamorous nightclub packed with dancers, sizzling music, and an owner (Cher) in need of a star. Jam-packed with visually stunning musical numbers and an all-star cast featuring Eric Dane, Kristen Bell and Stanley Tucci.
There is, according to Burlesque, a nightclub on the Sunset Strip that looks like a blend of Cabaret and Moulin Rouge and employs a full contingent of dancers and musicians in the service of a neo-retro-burlesque-blues program. Presiding over the craziness within is Tess, a grande dame who also performs occasionally and who could only, under these circumstances, be played by Cher. Entering the scene is a young leather-lunged hopeful from Iowa named Ali, played by Christina Aguilera in her movie-acting debut. The vibe of this glitzy concoction is more Flashdance than Showgirls, despite prerelease predictions that the film would be a campfest of epic proportions. In fact, it's more cornball than trashy. Ali hits most of the clichés of the genre: defying Tess's skepticism by proving her mettle during an impromptu stage number; flirting with the nice-guy bartender (Cam Gigandet, of Twilight) whose home she shares for a while, in a purely platonic way, of course, just until she gets her feet on the ground; and keeping a wary eye on the high roller (Eric Dane, of Grey's Anatomy) who wants to possess her, because, you see, he takes whatever he likes. And did we mention that Tess is facing foreclosure on the club in a month's time? Seriously, you didn't see that coming? Writer-director Steve Antin has no embarrassment about putting any of this across, which may be why it all feels weirdly innocent, if relentlessly silly. Stanley Tucci revives his gay assistant from The Devil Wears Prada, Alan Cumming lurks about in an undefined role that might well have been filmed months after everybody else, and Kristen Bell enjoys a few wicked-witch moments as Ali's main rival. Aguilera, needless to say, belts out her songs as only someone with a very large voice can, and Cher stops the show with an old-fashioned torch song ("You Haven't Seen the Last of Me") that is clearly designed as a roof-raiser. (And, by gum, it works.) This is a ridiculous movie, but it gets points for never claiming to be anything else. --Robert Horton
The Burlesque Lounge: Alternate Full Musical Performances!
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Top Customer Reviews
Not every movie has to be powerful or meaningful. A movie and and sometimes should be just a great romp in the park. This one is.
Music and costumes are undeniably fun, I'll give them that.
But apart from that, the writers and producers should be ashamed of themselves. Burlesque is a real thing in cities across the world with real humans doing it, and this movie decided to pay NO regard either to what classic burlesque was nor the resurgence that has happened since the 1990s.
Here are some things you should know:
•Burlesque is so much more than sexy dancing, it can be comedic, or emotive - rooted in vaudeville, it is a form of storytelling
• Most burlesque dancers are not professionally trained. And we come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. It is an art form that in most communities celebrates feminism, consent and body positivity.
• There is literally nothing new or provocative about singing during burlesque. This happens in almost every show. (The movie would have you think it's like this jaw dropper novel idea.)
• Apart from showgirl venues in Paris, NYC, las Vegas etc, most burlesque performers don't perform nightly at a venue or have large production budgets. In most cities, it's hard enough to fill a weekly or monthly show.
• Most of us have day jobs and even learn to sew and rhinestone ourselves. Unlike stripping, it is usually done out of passion, not for money - it is hard to make enough just to break even on good costumes and props, let alone to live off of.
• in most cities, you can expect a burlesque show to have a mix of solos and group choreo, and typically, solos "peel" down to pasties and undies or merkin.
If you are intrigued by modern burlesque, for the love of goddess, go support your local performers and see what it is actually about before watching the dumb movie. Look beyond Dita and Suicide Girls, and look up videos on YouTube of Burlesque Hall of Fame (bhof), Michelle L'Amour, Ula Uberbussen, April OPeel, Vagina Jenkins, Jo Boobs, Lola LeSoleil, Rosie Cheeks.
Burlesque is at your finger tips and you don't need this movie to reach out and touch it (just don't touch your performers ;)