Christina Aguilera is the second singer to make her big screen debut this month. The first being Pixie Lott with her futile effort as Judy in a contender for the worst film of the year, Fred: The Movie. As we saw in Fred, Pixie occasionally sang in some parts of the film to demonstrate the talent and Aguilera does the same but only a lot more considering Burlesque is a musical. So is this the same case scenario as Fred? Better, but certainly nothing great.
Aguilera plays Ali, a small town girl leaving her home to depart to Los Angeles (because of the hard time living with her parents) in order to live her dream as a singer/dancer. She comes across The Burlesque Lounge, which is managed by Tess, who is played by music icon Cher. Starting off as a waiter in the place, she becomes enthusiastic to showcase her singing talent to Tess and her performance eventually convinces Tess, who then allows her to perform on the shows. In the background of it all, the characters in the club face problems – Tess' club faces bankruptcy and despite putting one obstacle out of the way by refusing an entrepreneur called Marcus Gerber's (Eric Dane) offer to buy the club, she still fears that she will lose the club. And for Ali, her problems lie with a fellow dancer who despises her called Nikki (Kristen Bell) as they clash for who the main star of the club is and an engaged bartender called Jack (Cam Gigandet) who has a desire to develop a relationship with Ali despite having a fiancée.
The characterisation is heavily flawed in Burlesque. Let's begin with Ali. Christina Aguilera was suitable for the role but not suitable. She has the skill to act as a good singer and a role like this can display it but playing a young dancer doesn't work, she looks a bit old for the role. Her character alters in the film: starting off as an unknown waitress keen to perform, and saying to the first man met at the club that it reminded her of a strip club to a star performer racking up the cash for the club with the popularity she gains and reiterating her opinion of the club as "I've never seen anything like this". From the time it takes for her to go from rock bottom to the most confident singer in the club, she evolves into a pompous arse. And that time is very quick. Rome wasn't built in one day, but the character of Ali was.
Cher as Tess is the opposite. She starts off as 'it' until the club's financial problem hits her, then she becomes the character Ali started off with, a woman with problems that need to be sorted. It takes two to make a thing go right, but not when they contrast heavily even when they change. Not to miss the fact that her looks are incredibly ludicrous. To sum it up, the word "plastic" defines how she looks in this. From the dancers in the club, only two have significance in the film, Kristen Bell's jealous character Nikki and Julianne Hough's Georgia, a dancer whom Ali befriends. Have I mentioned Coco yet? Coco (Chelsea Traille) is a black female dancer who occasionally grins at Ali in a manner which you would expect something fishy going on between them but it turns out meaningless. Stanley Tucci plays a bent stage manager called Sean. Not much to say about him. Cam Gigandet plays the bartender Jack who first appears gay with his eyeliner but turns out to actually be straight. Oh and the man that I mentioned at the start whom Ali describes the club as having the looks of a strip club to? He doesn't have significance either apart from reappearing in a dance scene which has a lot of sexual interaction between him and the two dancers participating with him.
The script writer of this film did a bad job. The dialogue spoken by the characters was very repetitive – when one character said something, the other retaliated by saying exactly the same thing but just worded SLIGHTLY differently. I also must say that some of these lines are really corny, with the corniness making the bad film so bad that it's good.
This is a musical that features a club which is actually similar to a strip club. It contains voluptuous women wearing skimpy apparel and wiggling their butts every so often during their dances. Add a small sex scene which comes out of nowhere (starting from a cheesy scene which turns into something mature) – which also involves the male completely nude apart from a cookie box covering his mid-section – as well as the dance mentioned previously which imitates sex positions yet here is a film rated 12A. Scandalous. Maybe it is because of nothing like pole dancing, stripteases and full nudity. At the same time, with content like that, anyone under 12 going to watch the film would be viewing this. C'mon Steve Antin, did you forget about the young audience or was your aim to stimulate sexual activity in youngsters?
On the musical side, Burlesque has positives. In here, the songs aren't suddenly broken into like you'd normally see thanks to it being set in a club where the stage is where everything happens. There are one or two exceptions though. Aguilera and Cher being two experienced singers worked and the songs were enjoyable with all the song scenes looking like music videos rather than part of a film.
Burlesque, with its cheesiness, is a film so bad that it's good. Yes, I repeated that sentence in this review just like the dialogue in the film. It's a musical that mainly hits the wrong notes, with the only right note being the music itself. Well done to Christina Aguilera and…erm, that's about it.