Film, Drama
2 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
(3user reviews)
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‘Burlesque’ stars the singer Christina Aguilera as a plucky Midwesterner making it big in a Los Angeles burlesque club and Cher (or is that a life-sized Cher mannequin?) as her mentor. The movie has three potential audiences. None will leave empty-handed. None will be truly sated.
Musical fans excited to see an all-singing, all-dancing rags-to-riches rollercoaster spectacular will probably feel least cheated. With form in music videos and live burlesque, debut writer-director Steven Antin knows how to put on a show and mean it. He throws spangly, ‘Chicago’-style production numbers at the screen like King Kong hurling cars down Fifth Avenue.

Connoisseurs of the compellingly bad and/or outrageously camp will find a fair bit to savour: notably, thudding exposition, naff design touches and a nocturnal car-park scene involving Cher, a crowbar, mutant lungs, memories, adultery and vomit. But too much of the movie is simply banal or inept. The leads are inert, the production design boringly glossy. Crucially, the script is devoid of tension, badly paced and stuffed with distracting supporting characters, of whom only Stanley Tucci, reprising his GBF shtick from ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, is remotely memorable. Worst news for schlock fiends: no actual tits, no bona-fide bitches.

The third potential audience – adolescent girls in search of aspirational escapism – is the crowd to whom the film’s coy dissembling about the actual nature of burlesque does a real disservice. Even if they admire Aguilera’s powerful voice, this ain’t the way professional singers are discovered. But there it is: try to make ‘Showgirls’ for 12 year olds and you please no one. What a tease.


Release details

Release date:
Friday December 17 2010
119 mins

Cast and crew

Steven Antin
Steven Antin
Christina Aguilera
Alan Cumming

Average User Rating

2.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
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  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:1
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By no means is this film ground-breaking or an instant classic, and although it lacks originality in abundance, but it is still a guilty pleasure of mine! Warning my review will include a shed-load of plot analysis, but considering this is one of the most predictable films I’ve ever watched I didn’t feel it was appropriate to call them “spoilers”…

Firstly this all singing, all dancing, rags-to-riches film doesn’t really bring anything new to the table what we haven’t seen 39184973281 times before. It is widely reminiscent of Coyote Ugly, but the similarities don’t end at the singing/sexy dancing – the entire plot run almost parallel! You know the familiar story of the small-town girl trying to make it in a big city… who rents a dingy apartment… which is broken into and all the money stashed away is stolen… they struggle to make ends meet… that is until they are given a break… from a feisty club owner… after proving their worth singing… opportunities grow and we watch as their success rockets. And that doesn’t even bring into context the love interests who in both films write music, and even perform a strip tease. NO JOKE! These films are too similar, it almost feels as though Burlesque is a Broadway adaptation based on Coyote Ugly, dumbed down a little but with added glitz and glamour to the production.

Throwing in some girl on girl rivalry, we get a glimpse of Mean Girls, There’s a moment in the film where Ali is given Nicky’s spot on stage, and in revenge Nicky cuts the music mid performance and after standing in the awkward silence for a moment or two Ali begins singing and totally owns the performance… Jingle Bell Rock anyone?! SO fetch!

Another influence I feel may have been drawn loosely from Dirty Dancing – where the protagonist gets introduced into the dancing world when a long-time performer falls pregnant. There was also a brief scene in particular where we see the lead character Alihaving learnt the routines walking down a busy street which headphones in replaying the dance moves to herself, although FAR less iconic this reminded me of Baby dancing alone to Wipeout on the stairs at Kellerman’s.

I also got flashbacks to Moulin Rouge – a comparison inevitably drawn from the in style of performance, which is not dissimilar – though even less avoidable given “Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend” features in both… FYI Moulin Rouge does it better.

All of that said, I did still find the film enjoyable. It provides escapism in a follow-your-dreams fantasy where everything will inevitably turn out alright in the end, although foreseeable this is still uplifting. The dance performances are all very entertaining and inspiring (maybe Timeout can point me in the direction of Burlesque shows or even classes!), though the songs despite the incredible vocals (hello, it is Christina Aguilera and Cher after all!) lacked something and could have been far catchier. This is the type of easy-watch I’d reach for on a lazy/hungover Sunday… but maybe after I’ve exhausted the aforementioned arguably superior films. But this is on Netflix which is a bonus!

Once upon a time Cher used to be a good actress, and even won an Oscar. However, a fortune on plastic surgery and many years later, she now looks like an imperious drag queen. On the up side, she’ll soon be able to double for Quentin Crisp - she just needs the fedora. Given she was supposed to be the “star� of Burlesque and the only one who didn’t lipsync and sang her songs, I was immediately struck by the notion that it would have helped if she’d bothered to learn the songs so when she lipsync’d with herself in the opening number she’d be vaguely convincing. . Aguilera is very so-so – unfortunately the course of this film has clearly been written to act as a singer-dancer-actress vehicle for her. This movie is predictable, so much so a toddler with a first set of crayons could have written a more imaginative and convincing script. Cher, Aguilera, and Tucci are all good performers – but this is a terrible story/script/vehicle, and not right for any of them. Time Out’s critique of this film is totally accurate save for one thing – they gave it two stars - one star is generous.

i think this film is worth a go it was a good film in its own right simon cowell would like the singing and the art work that went in too the makeing of this film