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Movie Review: Burlesque

BY JESSICA CARBINO | DECEMBER 06, 2010 7:20 AM

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*** 1/2 out of *****

We've listened to the talented voices of Christina Aguilera and Cher over the years and seeing Cher on the big screen is no surprise; she's successfully made the transition from singer/performer to actor. Aguilera, on the other hand, has not yet proved to the world that she is capable of doing the same. Most people appreciate Cher's contributions but aren't as positive about Aguilera. The quality of her acting is definitely questioned; therefore, I wondered whether to buy a ticket to Burlesque.

A naïve small-town girl, Ali (Aguilera) leaves her Iowa hometown to make it as a star in Hollywood. While searching for a job, she comes across a club, Burlesque, and explores it. There, she becomes infatuated with the singing, dancing, and scandalous costumes. Her goal is to be on the stage and works and argues to get there.

Ali's hired as a cocktail waitress, but that's not good enough for her. Owner Tess (Cher) finally gives her a shot to strut her stuff onstage, not knowing Ali has vocal chords to match her dancing skills.

Tess is too caught up in her own problems with running the club. She's behind on mortgage payments, so her ex wants to sell it. On top of financial problems, she has to deal with the club's resident diva, Nikki (Kristen Bell) becoming more of a boozy loud-mouth than a star.

As an attempt to sabotage her, Nikki cuts the sound system during one of Ali's performances, not knowing that unlike the rest of the girls who lip sync, Ali is best singing the songs herself. The curtain drops, but Ali soon begins belting out the song with all the power Aguilera is known for before the curtain dramatically rises again. And after Ali is put in the spotlight, she thinks she can save the club.

As if Ali doesn't have enough on her plate, she also struggles with her relationship with her bartender friend Jack (played by Cam Gigandet) at the club. Although they are supposed to be love interests, the chemistry between the two actors demonstrates that the two are more entertaining as friends.

But Jack would certainly make any woman in the audience glad to take Ali's place.

The movie isn't very original; it is basically the same story line as Coyote Ugly and has singing and choreography that is similar to Chicago. Some character relationships aren't explained well enough and the resolution of whether the women will manage to save the club doesn't seem big and dramatic enough considering the problem was built up over the entire movie.

But the film still manages to entertain audiences and makes us want to get up and move. Cher and Aguilera are performers and are at their best when they're showing off their vocal prowess and dancing skills. Plus, the movie has the basic film staples — friendship, love, hate, sex appeal, and humor.

Should Aguilera continue her acting career, though? No, the songstress should stick with what she does best, singing and dancing. But Cher manages to prove that her acting talents are capable enough to shine through a subpar plot line.

Burlesque won't stand out as one of the best plots you've ever seen, but you won't mind seeing the great singing and dancing performances again, and audience members will find themselves humming the songs long after leaving the theater.


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