HOW DO YOU BURLESQUE? – A Burlesque Review

What do you get when you cross Coyote Ugly with Moulin Rouge and top it all off with the glamour of Cher? A whole lot of fishnets and glitter, that’s what.

Making the most of our Holidays, we embarked on a mid week adventure yesterday afternoon for sushi, shopping and a movie. Despite Christmas being over, the malls were still hopping and the theatre was crowded, but the flurry of people did little to deter us from joining in the song and dance of Burlesque.

Burlesque isn’t the kind of film that weighs heavily on the story line, you know the drill… small town girl (Christina Aguilera) with big dreams moves to the city with nothing but a pocket full of cash and some talent, hoping to make something of herself, just like every other girl in LA.

After some disheartening run ins with dead end job opportunities, she wanders into a burlesque club and is awestruck by the glamorous show she sees on stage. She begs the club owner (Cher) for a job, ends up waiting tables until she can prove herself, her apartment is broken into and the spoiled lead burlesque dancer (Kristen Bell) instantly sees her as a threat and becomes her rival.

It’s all very similar to the beginning of Coyote Ugly; however, instead of dancing on bars and spraying customers with water, these girls don corsets and sequins and dance on stage in fishnets, a la Moulin Rouge. It even goes as far as to duplicate the Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend number, only without Nicole Kidman on a swing.

Needless to say, it isn’t the plot or dialogue that drives the movie, but the glitz and glamour and that giant voice that Aguilera showcases. While we aren’t always a fan of the pop star turned actress, at least this is a role fit for a pop queen and Aguilera has the talent to fill those heels. With a repertoire of songs to compliment her vast vocal range, this movie is really just a stage for Aguilera to show off her skills as a burlesque singer, which we already know she can pull off thanks to the Lady Marmalade music video.

Cher steps in as the club owner and mother figure, which plays to her veteran role in the music biz. With her right hand man (Stanley Tucci – who is always brilliant in roles like this) loyally by her side, she takes each budding dancer under her wing and not only provides some direction, but a sense of family for a motley crew of lost girls with nowhere else to go in the big bad city. Even after all these years, Cher still is a legendary icon that you just can’t stop, a message she sang to us in a rather random number that seems like it was only included in the film to give her a chance to do her thing.

The reason this movie was on our radar, however, was not solely because it’s a musical, but because Ashley will not let any movie with Kirsten Bell go unseen. And it was refreshing to see Bell in a role that wasn’t a one dimensional rom-com character chasing love, but a character that allowed her to show that spitfire attitude that she perfected in Veronica Mars. Sure, she was the bitch, but she played it well and was able to throw some actual effort into it. And did we mention she wore a corset and fishnets?

With all these beautiful women dancing around in barely there clothing, it’s hard to believe that the film could get any hotter. But alas, we must make mention of the token love interest, the good hearted boy who keeps our small town girl grounded and on track. And does he ever look good doing it.

Cam Gigandet may be forever remembered as the long haired evil vampire James from Twilight, but that boy has far more to offer than fangs. And he had a chance to prove that when he dropped trou for a unique take on a strip tease during a comedic scene, which was actually a refreshing take on your typical love scene and was much appreciated (and not just because of the clothing the scene lacked). There is just something to be said about a man who straddles a motorcycle and wears eyeliner. (Ashley’s suggestion: more dudes need to wear eyeliner.)

All in all, Burlesque certainly follows a formula, and it’s not even a very successful formula, but no one goes to something like this in hopes of seeing an award worthy movie. It’s a fun, glamourous, glittery world with lots of eye candy, beautiful costumes and a handful of talented women taking the stage and showing us all how to Burlesque.

images from google images

** please note, this would have been posted sooner but ashley got distracted looking at images of cam on a motorcycle on google.