Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


BURLESQUE (2010). Writer/director: Steve Antin.

"How many times have I held your head over the toilet bowl while you threw up everything but your memories?"

Small town waitress Ali (Christina Aguilera), with the usual show biz dreams, makes her way to L.A. and discovers a club called Burlesque run by Tess (Cher), a world-weary long-time performer. Tess can't pay her bills, and her ex (Peter Gallagher) wants her to sell out to the smarmy developer, Marcus (Eric Dane). Meanwhile Ali is befriended by Jack (Cam Gigaridet), a bartender at the club who helps her get a job there, even as she earns the enmity of jealous Nikki (Kristen Bell), a top-billed performer on the skids. Ali stops waitressing at Burlesque once Tess hears how well she can sing, and she begins a affair with Jack who already has a fiancee -- and, frankly, who the hell cares? Initially colorful and entertaining, Burlesque is so utterly superficial, the characters so one-dimensional, that after awhile it just becomes boring -- a long rock video we've all seen before. Cher sings two dynamic numbers, the title tune and "The Last of Me," while Aguilera, a solid professional, also struts her considerable stuff in more than one number. The eternally un-aging 65-year-old Cher looks fine and acts well, but had she and the film acknowledged her senior citizen status [not that that means she can't look sexy] it might have made for a movie with a little more substance. The other actors, including reliable Stanley Tucci as the club's gay manager, are all fine. When all is said and done, this is really Aguilera's movie, with Cher in a supporting role.

Verdict: Burlesque leaves no show business cliche unturned. **.

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