Burlesque Review
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As another holiday season gets under way, it’s once again time to pull out those holiday decorations—all the glitter and the tinsel and the sparkly Christmas lights. Meanwhile, Hollywood is preparing for the holiday season with a little glitz of its own, as pop superstars Cher and Christina Aguilera team up for their new musical production, Burlesque.

Aguilera stars as Ali, a small-town girl who leaves her home in Iowa behind to try to make it big in LA. One night, after yet another round of unsuccessful auditions, she stumbles into an ultra-cool club called the Burlesque Lounge. Although Ali begs for an audition, the club’s owner, Tess (Cher), has more pressing matters to attend to. The club is racing toward bankruptcy, and wealthy real estate developer Marcus (Eric Dane) is trying to buy her and her ex-husband, Vince (Peter Gallagher) out.

Ali isn’t willing to give up on her dream of appearing on stage at Burlesque, so she convinces bartender Jack (Cam Gigandet) to hire her as a waitress, just to get her foot in the door. But with many of the dancers dealing with their own personal issues, it’s only a matter of time before Ali finally gets her chance. And when Tess hears Ali sing, she realizes that a fresh new star might be just what the club needs.

As far as song-and-dance dramas go, Burlesque definitely doesn’t compare to Baz Luhrmann’s vibrantly quirky Moulin Rouge!—but, fortunately, it’s no Showgirls, either.

Stripped down to its story, Burlesque is just a jumble of cheesy clichés. Ali is the same sweet, innocent Midwesterner that you’ve seen time and time again—and she’s joined by the trouble-making diva (Kristen Bell’s Nikki), the aging legend who refuses to let go (Cher’s Tess), and the lovable gay sidekick (Stanley Tucci’s Sean). Meanwhile, the various plotlines couldn’t be more predictable—from the struggle to keep the club from going under to Ali’s difficult decision between nice-guy bartender Jack and handsome playboy Marcus.

The performances, too, are pretty much as you’d expect. Former Oscar winner Cher has clearly had so much work done that she can no longer express any kind of emotion. And while Aguilera isn’t bad in her first starring role, it’s pretty obvious that she didn’t get the part because she could act. She got the part because she’s a busty blonde with a big, booming voice. Everything about her just fits on the Burlesque stage—and her musical productions are the film’s high points.

So the cast of Burlesque probably won’t be winning any awards for their acting—and writer/director Steve Antin shouldn’t hold his breath for a Best Screenplay nod, either. But you just can’t beat the glitz and the glam of the film’s musical numbers. The set pieces are generally pretty simple, but Aguilera’s vocals are anything but. And, of course, the barely-there costumes are a sight to behold (and the abundance of creatively covered T&A will help to lessen the blow for any boyfriends and husbands who are forced to sit through the show).

It may not be a particularly surprising or original drama, but Burlesque is still an entertaining musical chick flick extravaganza.

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