Burlesque follows the story of Ally (played by Christina Aguilera) who moves from Iowa where she was a waitress who felt there was something missing in her life and wanting more for herself. She decides to move to Los Angeles with a small amount of savings, unsure of what she is looking for. Ally comes across a club called “Burlesque” one night, and is completely mesmerized by the group of scantily clad dancers on stage. After just a few moments, she immediately decides that becoming one of the dancers is something she wants to do. After talking to the owner of the club (the ever talented Cher), and is immediately rejected, she decides to take it upon herself to start working as a waitress for “Burlesque”. ___ is reluctant, but gives into Ally working there.
After coming home one night and discovering her apartment has been broken into and her money stolen, she asks to stay at the apartment of the Burlesque’s bartender (whom she has befriended). In the meantime, the Burlesque is in danger of closing down or being bought out since Cher is behind on her mortgage payments.
Stanley Tucci plays Cher’s seamstress and essentially Cher’s confidante and best friend. The chemistry between the two is the best thing about the film, in addition to the chemistry that Ally has with each of them. Eric Duane plays the suave billionaire interested in purchasing the Burlesque for his own purposes. Kristen Bell as the rival on the stage is severly underused and almost pointless (this coming from someone who adores her too!). The other actresses are almost nameless other Burlesque dancers we are shown, but hardly see more than a couple minutes of screen time, which begs the question — why bother?
The songs for the most part are pretty good – favorites being “Show Me How To Burlesque” and “Express”, along with the dance numbers that went along with it. Christina Aguilera did a fantastic job at the American Music Awards dancing and singing to “Express”. Some get tiresome and old, but those stood out for me. Christina Aguilera has an amazing voice, but the songs started to blend together and sound the same. The story is pretty simply and even silly at times. And, even though Christina Aguilera plays the innocent and sweet Ally pretty well, I could not shake the “diva” feeling I was getting from her.
The movie definitely returns more to the innocent and fun vein of that of more traditional musicals (from the 1940s and 1950s), so viewers who love that kind of musical should enjoy it. The burlesque dancers of course, not so much, but with what I felt was a cheesy story (especially pertaining to the romance) and similar sounding songs, I was not very impressed. However, saying that, there is no doubt that Christina Aguilera or Cher can’t sing. Their voices are phenomenal. However, their voices are not enough to make this okay film to a good or even great film.
I would still recommend seeing it if you are a fan of musicals, Cher, or Christina Aguilera. They are in their best element here, but would definitely go into the theatre with much lower expectations.