2010 Running time: 119 Certificate: 12 Not yet rated

Synopsis

Christina Aguilera plays a small-town Iowa girl who revives the fortunes of a struggling Los Angeles burlesque club when she is hired as a waitress-turned-singer. However, will the club's newfound success halt a bid by a predatory businessman to buy the venue out. Cher plays Tess, the club's increasingly desperate owner and there are also glitzy appearances from Kristen Bell and Alan Cumming.

Director

  • Steven Antin

Cast

  • Christine Aguilera

  • Cher

  • Alan Cumming

  • Kristen Bell

  • Stanley Tucci

Review

Xtina Aguilera maker her first foray onto the big screen as Ali, the archetypal small-town girl with big dreams which see her head off to the bright lights of Hollywood.

Fortunately for Ali, her Los Angeles street-pounding in search of work quickly takes her to possibly the least risqué burlesque club ever (well, this is a 12A), featuring a cast of highly polished dancers in an array of bejewelled costumes that belie the fragile financial status of the venue.

Luckily for them the equally tenacious Tess (Cher) is running the show aided by celluloid's favourite gay uncle, Stanley 'Wears Prada' Tucci, as Sean.

Ali quickly rises though the ranks from waitress to dancer but like all plucky, budding starlets, she knows she has more to give.

When she finally gets to unleash her lungs the results are impressive but the original songs, with the exception of the title track, are largely forgettable. The big musical numbers feel more like pop videos than an all-out camp-fest spectacle.

Naturally there's a love interest in the form of the very-easy-on-the-eye Jack (Gigandet), a charming, yet ultimately ruthless, real estate agent, Marcus (Dane) who's desperate to snatch the club from Tess with a wave of his cheque book and a bitter rivalry with ousted, 'washed-up' showgirl Nikki (Bell)

[Note to Tess: if the lip-syncing lead in your rundown, ailing club can afford such a fancy sports car then YOU'RE PAYING HER TOO MUCH.]

Burlesque is the directorial debut from Steven Antin, part of the team behind Pussycat Dolls, who took burlesque and turned it into semi-sanitised teen pop fodder so it's perhaps not surprising that this is a heavily diluted version of a scene characterised by its bawdiness.

With the exception of a solitary number from club host Alexis (Alan Cumming) - which owes more than a nod to Cabaret - the film has failed to capture the spirit of burlesque.

For a film with so much camp promise and the world crying out for a successor to the so-bad-it's-good cult Showgirls, this cliché packed film is disappointingly mediocre.

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