Burlesque

It’s no Chicago or Dreamgirls, but if you like musicals (as I do), then you’ll like Burlesque well enough because the singing and the dancing are superb. The storyline, the acting and the dialogue are all… well… let’s just say the singing and the dancing are superb! The rest – is pretty darn cheesy, with a capital “C”.

Pop superstar Christina Aguilera plays Ali, a small-town girl from Iowa who struggles (for at least a day or two) to hit it big in Hollywood.  She finds the proverbial “home” and “family” at a struggling burlesque club on the Sunset Strip. It’s run by the tough, yet maternal, Tess, played by Cher who looks fabulous if not altogether fake.

Most of the characters are quite cliché, from the Kentucky-bred bartender/artist-wannabe who is Ali’s roommate and potential soul-mate (tasty eye candy played by Cam Gigandet)… to the rich “entrepreneur” who wants to buy out the club and make Ali a star (played totally to type by Eric Dane, a.k.a. Dr. McSteamy)… to Tess’s gay best friend and right-hand man, Sean (played by Stanley Tucci). Is it just me, or does Tucci always play the exact same character? He’s fun to watch, but the role doesn’t seem much of a stretch! Oh, and of course, every ingénue needs a rival. And in this case, it’s Nikki, played by the multi-talented Kristen Bell.

Burlesque is best watched on a really big screen in a theater with really good sound so you can pretend you’re at a show on Broadway or on the Vegas Strip. The movie has that stage vibe, which could help explain the over-abundance of over-acting. There’s really no forgiving the predictable, groan-inducing dialogue, but thankfully, the musical performances drive – and save- Burlesque.  Bell, Cher and Aguilera absolutely shine when taking their turns in the spotlight on center stage. You may not remember the songs later, but you’ll enjoy them in the moment. And that makes Burlesque good escapist fare for the music-minded masses. But if you’re not a fan of the musical genre to begin with, you may want to skip this one.

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