AccessReel Reviews: Burlesque

AccessReel Reviews: Burlesque

Ali, a small town girl dreams of bigger things and travels to the big city to become a star. Finding only disillusion she becomes involved in a burlesque club owned by a talented ex dancer, Tess.  Starring Christina Aguilera and Cher.

Burlesque is a very simple story. A small town girl with huge talent and whom her peers underestimate proves everyone wrong through song and dance. You expect to know exactly what is going to happen. Although this is true for Burlesque, the movie is not without its charms. Christina is not a terrible actress and the relationship between Cher’s character and Stanley Tucci as her assistant and best friend, is the most genuine in the movie. The beginning of the film does actually feel like a burlesque performance, or as much of one that an M rated film will permit, and then Christina starts to sing..

The rest of film quickly delves into familiar territory. Christina has a fantastic voice but the songs performed in the film aren’t any different from what we have heard before. The proceeding performances seem to be more like a succession of extended music clips with the spotlight shared by both Christina and Cher. If you are a huge fan of either you will enjoy the performances but all other plot points thereafter feel tacked on. The burlesque atmosphere fades and it becomes the Christina show with her songs outweighing Cher’s.

It’s clear that the film becomes a music clip for Christina’s new album; soundtracks are products of a film that compliment its themes not the other way around.

Although Burlesque isn’t really burlesque, the dances in it are pretty impressive, the choreography is exciting and whatever story that develops is there to compliment them. The problem is that “Burlesque” is the same old song and dance, it’s “showgirls” without the nudity, It’s “Coyote ugly” without all the alcohol and its “Centre Stage” without all the ballerinas. They all follow the same formula but that doesn’t mean you may not enjoy it. It isn’t the story of the small time girl discovering her talent you go to see, like they say in the movie “they don’t come here to see us sing”, you watch it to see Christina Aguilera and a host of other very talented dancers strut their stuff.  Don’t expect a thought provoking dramatic ensemble and you will avoid disappointment.

The dances were great, the set design was minimal (most of the budget looked like it went into the extravagant costumes) and dialogue was simple. The Characters were mostly cliché, except for Stanley Tucci’s character, I really enjoyed his role. Once you accept Burlesque for what it is and decide that you want to see the performances, you may enjoy this film. For lovers of Christina and Cher, you will not be disappointed.

I give Burlesque 2 out of 5 stars

Burlesque opens in Australia on The 13th of January.