Rags to riches story about an Iowa waitress with a big voice and even bigger dreams of becoming a performer in a Los Angeles musical revue.  What should have been a slam dunk in amusing campy excess (it’s a musical starring Cher for crying out loud)  is actually a very clichéd run-of-the-mill feature.  The script takes itself much too seriously.  Owes a serious debt to Cabaret and Chicago for inspiration, but the action never rises above an enthusiastic imitation, containing all the depth of a long form music video.   The singing is spectacular – Christina Aguilera and Cher perform beautifully and they’re matched by some skillful dancers.  But where are the catfights?  The hair pulling?  The push down the stairs?  Or the glass of wine thrown in someone’s face?  Case in point:  There’s just one act of sabotage and it‘s the best scene in the entire film.  The cast is game and I’m sure if presented with a more lively script, this film could have been great.  Christina’s vocals are exceptional.  She‘s an engaging presence in her first film, but her singing can only carry this routine movie so far.

7 Responses to “Burlesque”

  1. Nice review. I expected something like this for Burlesque. Haven’t seen it yet, but always imagined it would be just OK.


  2. Nice balanced review Mark, I agree with your thoughts. Those I attended the movie were hoped for a Cher/Christina duet pairing to be the showstopper that never took place. Missed some great opportunities for over the top backstage and onstage rivalries to play out also. Still a great day at the movies if you love Cher- she was flawless. (I am totally biased) If you like Christina you will love her after this- all Christina All the time.


  3. Jonathan Bennett Says:

    Looks like a PG-13 version of Showgirls to me. Might watch when it gets on Netflix Watch Now or whatever.


    • Burlesque is reminiscent of at least two movies: Showgirls and Chicago. Showgirls is so bad it’s good, and Chicago is simply good. Burlesque doesn’t attain the highs of either movie. It’s too serious to be horrible, but not well written enough to be as great. It falls somewhere in the middle. As a result, it suffers in comparison. The singing is outstanding, however.


  4. I did like this movie. However, I agree with Mark, it needed way more camp. I did laugh when Cher rehearsed her song, in black and blue screen. She kinda looked like, jigsaw, from the “Saw”, movies. Her face was sooooo tight. For me, Christina was amazing. Her voice is just so good. I actually got chills when she sang for the first time at the club. I had fun.


  5. LOL at the Jigsaw thing! And looking forward to being blown away by Christina’s voice.


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