People who paid good money to see Burlesque expect to be entertained. This movie simply screams diva…and it delivered on every aspect.
Burlesque is a story of a small town girl named Ali (Cristina Aguilera) who came to LA to follow her dreams of becoming a performer. In the big city, she meets bartender/songwriter Jack (Cam Gigandet), who helps her land a waitressing job at a Burlesque Club owned by Tess (Cher). The plot was pretty similar to Cayote Ugly but the powerhouse performances of Aguilera and Cher cast the previous movie into the shade.
Burlesque may be reminiscent of another successful musical, Academy Award favorite Chicago, which won Catherine Zeta Jones her first Oscar for best female actress in a supporting role. However, Cher and Aguilera will not be winning any Oscars for their acting. On stage, both are dynamite, their performances evoking many emotions, but off stage, their performances are average at best, sometimes even wooden. I’m not saying they’re horrible. Just not that great in acting… understandable because they ‘are’ singers. Hey, don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of poignant moments in the movie, mostly with Cher’s character Tess, but for the most part, the emotional aspects often got overshadowed by Aguilera’s constant parading of her cleavage and various parts of her anatomy. Probably not her fault, but still…
I think while there were similarities (dazzling production numbers, and musical numbers), there was a marked difference between the two movies — Chicago featured actors who can sing and dance, but Burlesque focused more on the performances so it booked divas like Cher and Cristina to deliver exceptional vocals and outstanding production numbers. I won’t lie by saying I did’nt get goosebumps with each number. The vocals were outstanding. I guess that’s why they’re divas. They absolutely bring down the house when they take the stage.
I liked that Kristen Bell took on the role of villainess in this movie as a departure to her usual nice girl roles. She is as awesome with her claws out as she is with them sheathed, plus this role was a tad risque too, and sexier than most of her previous portrayals — she did a great job and made her character as the bitchy star of the show believable. Stanley Tucci, one of the most underrated actors of this generation, turned up another solid performance as Tess’ best friend/soulmate. I love this guy — he can play a villain, a good guy, a nerd or a douche — and he does them all so well and so effortlessly that he can communicate with one meaningful stare what other actors strive to convey with long monologues. In my opinion, his performance is the glue that held everything together. Grey’s Anatomy Eric Dane was his usual charming self as Marcus Gerber, the billionaire businessman who wanted to purchase the club from Tess to build a skyrise, and Cam Gigandet, with his smoldering good looks rounded off the cast as Jack, the bartender who writes songs on the side, and falls in love with Ali.
What I liked about the movie was that there was really no bad guy. Just people who have different priorities, points of views — some get swallowed up by the razzle dazzle of the big city and the big lights while some refuse to let go of who and what they love. There were many points of realizations throughout the film and I’m glad that Ali, as the main protagonist, had a good enough head on her shoulders to withstand the temptations that come with success, sparing the audiences from another head against the wall moment aka How stupid can you get? episode. I think that it is also worthy to credit the wardrobe and stylists for this movie — the sequins, the pearls, the shoes, the boots. Wow! This movie featured a lot of fancy footwear that had me green with envy.
As you can tell, I really liked Burlesque. It was more a musical extravaganza than a movie, and clocked in at a little less than two hours. The production numbers alone probably accounted for half the total running time, but I’m not complaining. I was entertained. It was like watching a Vegas Follies show, but better. I want the OST, stat!