Burlesque (2010)

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Christina Aguilera Struts Her Stuff With Cher in Burlesque

Dec 16, 2010 (Updated Jun 1, 2011)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Entertaining movie.  Good songs and cast.

Cons:Won't appeal to some people.

The Bottom Line: Burlesque is a very entertaining movie that is worth watching, though it won't appeal to some people.  


I have enjoyed musicals for years.  I have been interested in seeing Burlesque since I first saw the trailers.  I finally got the chance to see it.

Ali works as a waitress in a very small town in Iowa.  Fed up with her boss, she decides she is finally going to follow her dream and head to Los Angeles.  Once there, she finds a place to live and starts looking for a job.  She comes across The Burlesque Lounge by chance and is immediately drawn to it.  After watching a performance, Ali is determined to get a job dancing at the club.  She manages to get a job as a waitress, but it isn't long before she convinces Tess, the owner, to let her dance.  Soon after that, Ali grabs an opportunity and Tess makes the decision to have her sing.  Ali becomes the roommate of Jack, one of the bartenders in the club.  She starts to fit in with the other girls, though Nikki is insanely jealous.  While that is going on, Tess is struggling to deal with a situation tied to the club.

The plot for Burlesque is fairly simple, dealing with a young woman from a small town in the middle of nowhere going to a big city with dreams of becoming a performer of some kind.  The fact that the basic plot isn't that original doesn't keep the movie from being entertaining.  Other movies I have seen with that sort of plot have had the characters trying to become movie stars, so it is a little different that Ali is content to perform at The Burlesque Lounge.  Much of what happens is at least somewhat predictable, but there are also a few small surprises that pop up here and there.   A few small subplots pop up dealing with other people working at the club and with an issue Tess has to try to fix.

Burlesque features a lot of singing and musical numbers, though it isn't what I think of as a traditional musical.  Instead of characters just breaking out into song at a drop of a hat, the songs are the numbers done in The Burlesque Lounge.  I do like musicals, but I know there are people who can't get past the fact that people just start singing in normal situations.  The musical numbers may not bother those people in this movie since there is more of a reason for the characters to be singing and dancing.  

Some of the songs in Burlesque are older songs and some of them are new.  The music fits really well with the movie and what is going on.  Some of the scenes, in addition to showing a performance at the club, will also have other footage mixed in, showing things happening with characters, usually Ali.  That works well to keep moving the story forward.  A few of the new songs tie in perfectly with the story while also sounding like songs that could be playing on the radio.  Cher only does two songs which does seem like a waste, but she does very well with them, especially You Haven't Seen the Last of Me.  I really like the music from the movie and I'll probably pick up the soundtrack at some point.

There are several relationships that receive attention in Burlesque.  Ali doesn't know anyone when she arrives in Los Angeles, but it doesn't take her long to start a friendship with Jack and that eventually leads to her becoming his roommate.  It is clear that there is an attraction between them, though they don't act on it.  Ali starts to spend time with Marcus, a wealthy man in real estate who spends time at the club.  That just adds to the reasons for Nikki to dislike Ali since Marcus had been seeing Nikki before that.  Nikki is rude to Ali from the start, and it only gets worse.  Tess and Sean, the man who keeps things running backstage, have a wonderful friendship and their scenes are some of the best in the movie.  

Sexual situations turn up every so often in Burlesque.  At one point, it is clear that characters have had sex, though it isn't actually seen.  The only nudity comes from Jack's bare backside, though the performers at the club show off a lot of skin with the very skimpy outfits they wear.  None of them are nude when performing, though it comes close once or twice.  The routines are sexy and suggestive, though nothing explicit happens.  

There are several characters in Burlesque, most of which don't get much attention.  Ali receives the most attention, which makes sense since the movie is focused on her and what happens after she arrives in Los Angeles.  She is from a very small town and she manages to deal with things fairly well in her new home.  Ali is very determined, which is how she ends up performing.  She is a likable character and Christina Aguilera does a really good job with the part.  

Tess owns The Burlesque Lounge.  She is mostly seen dealing with various issues for the club, but she does perform once.  Tess is very determined.  She acts a bit tough at times, but she is really nice and kind.  She is protective of the girls.  Cher is perfect in the part.  It is too bad she didn't have the opportunity to sing more.  Sean is Tess's best friend and also works at the club.  He is mostly backstage, helping the girls find costumes.  He is a wonderful character and it would have been nice if he had a bit more to do.  Stanley Tucci is great in the part.  Peter Gallagher is in a few scenes as Vincent, Tess's ex-husband who owns part of the club.

Jack works as a bartender at the club.  He is also an aspiring songwriter.  He and Ali quickly become friends.  Not much else is shared about him unfortunately.  Cam Gigandet does well with the part.  He also looks really good with his clothes off.  Alan Cumming is in a few short scenes as Alexis.  Georgia and Nikki are the performers that receive the most attention, though they are still mostly flat characters.  Nikki has been the most popular for a while, and she is very jealous of Ali.  Nikki also has a problem with drinking.  Julianne Hough is fine as Georgia.  Kristen Bell gets a little more to do as Nikki, but she is wasted in the part.

Main Cast

Christina Aguilera - Ali
Kristen Bell - Nikki
Cher - Tess
Alan Cumming - Alexis
Peter Gallagher - Vincent
Cam Gigandet - Jack
Julianne Hough - Georgia
Stanley Tucci - Sean
            
Steve Antin - Director

Burlesque is a very entertaining movie that is definitely worth watching.  Christina Aguilera and Cher are wonderful.  People who don't like musicals may want to pick a different movie.

* This review was originally posted after I saw the movie in the theater.  It is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.

Kristen Bell Reviews
Couples Retreat ~ Fanboys ~ Forgetting Sarah Marshall ~ Veronica Mars - The Complete First Season ~ Veronica Mars - The Complete Second Season ~ You Again ~


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