Camp Christina


22 November 2010| No Comments on Burlesque     by Sean Chavel


Campy spectacular-craptacular. Burlesque is a PG-13-approved T&A show with more emphasis on airbrushed ass; Christina Aguilera is a beautiful blonde with the voicebox of an opera house orgy; the dance numbers owe inspiration to the Pussycat Dolls; the one-liners sling like bitch slaps; Cher comes off as a know-it-all madam. Also lots of pink, full corsets and garters, and girls in platform high heels. Random: Who out there wants to shimmer powder up Aguilera’s buns in particular? Certainly not Stanley Tucci. Who want 

It sustains a zingy, felicitous and campy appeal with bounteous beautiful girls. And less slimy than “Showgirls” which had T&A but no sense of what sexy is. Flamboyant writer-director Steve Antin, an acquaintance and obvious admirer of The Pussycat Dolls, has a thing for limber girls in bustieres getting twisty on stage. He has an ear for overripe dialogue and uses Stanley Tucci, as a peppy stage manager, to channel fountains of gay humor. But Antin’s overall plotting is clunky, resulting in an overlong entertainment that bumps, if not grinds, along. The second half in particular doesn’t streamline smoothly, often forgetting characters for chunks at a time and adding subplots that don’t go anywhere.

Aguilera, as Ali Rose, is an Iowa girl working as a waitress at a beat-up café. The first scene has Ali saying goodbye to her shabby existence followed by her first solo number – no café customers, just a movie audience to perform for. Movie moments later, she’s on Hollywood Boulevard browsing through the classifieds for that job that will give her a big break. She stumbles onto The Burlesque Lounge by accident, and within minutes is enthralled and wants on the stage. Cher, as Tess the club owner, doubts her abilities and shoos her away like a stray cat. Ali assumes herself as a waitress ready for a big break.

Kristen Bell and Julianne Hough co-star as the racy dancers, both of them slink into a lip-synched “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” number, unsuspecting that Ali will be the one to take over as the club star because she can sing. Bell, in dyed black hair, is a backstabbing shrew with rather tame backstabbing schemes. Not much gets in the way of Ali’s true unbridled talent.

Ali has financial struggles so she crashes the house of bartender Jack (Cam Gigandet), who has a fiancé away in New York. What starts out as friendship soon grows an erection, as Jack falls hard for her but can’t (yet) act on his emotions. Big shot Marcus (Eric Dane) is an entrepreneur with limitless funds and hook-ups, who comes off as a martini-and-sugar daddy benefactor, who straps Ali in fast-lane courtship.

Eventually this leads to my least favorite cliché in the movies, and I’ll confess that nothing makes me groan in repulsion when I see it (which in American movies is often). Ali is in bed with her dream guy for the first time. The morning after, the former girlfriend storms in and tries to reclaim her boyfriend. The boyfriend tries to explain to Ali that it was over and not to leave before he explains his intentions and his former girlfriend’s lies. Ali interrupts and disallows any explanation and storms out before the situation is settled. Arrrghh.

“Burlesque” was considered for another audience besides me and probably for another audience that doesn’t regularly read film reviews. Those members will get juiced up by its flash, glitz and catchy show tunes. Aguilera has a voice like none other and her body is built for sashay, although her character goes to lovable to diva who forgets her roots and then back to lovable (I didn’t like  Aguilera during the diva parts). Cher is the harridan before she becomes the best friend, and she has two shameless but righteously tailored songs. If you were heading to it then you will enjoy it, like cherry truffles. If you were ambivalent about going, then you probably aren’t right for it. It has the I.Q. of Mariah Carey’s “Glitter,” but it’s at least halfway fun if you like looking at garter belts and the girls attached to them.

119 Minutes. Rated PG-13.

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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