Let’s be honest: at the end of the day, Burlesque is just another feel-good movie with a rather cliché plot and happy ending.
There is quite a bit of singing at regular intervals; not enough to make it a full-on musical, but it’s getting quite close.
Starring both Cher and Christina Aguilera, everyone knew that this film was either going to be cheesy as hell commercial Hollywood crap or sheer brilliance. I’d say it’s floating somewhere in the middle.
The story is simple, Alice “Ali” Rose, has enough of her dead-end life and waitressing job in Iowa and decides to hop on the greyhound bus to Los Angeles to try to make it there. After a fruitless search for a proper job she stumbles upon “Burlesque”, a club promising “the best view on the strip.”
Burlesque is, as the name explains rather well, a burlesque establishment. And of course Ali manages to land a job there, as a waitress at first but eventually as a dancer and eventually the club’s star performer. Girl meets boy at said club, girl ends up moving in with boy due to some unpleasant circumstances, girl discovers boy is in fact not gay and they fall in love. In the mean time there’s everything from impending doom for the club to another suitor fighting for the girl’s heart, trouble in love-related paradise and a jealous rival who can’t stand the new girl getting the spotlight. As I said: predictable.
Now this is why I thought Burlesque was alright, bordering on worthwhile even, and I admit that I quite enjoyed it, mostly.
There’s quite a bit of humor in the movie. Some scenes are simply hilarious. The costumes are pretty and the songs better than expected.
While I believe that fans of the actual burlesque genre might be disappointed, if you like a lot of singing, pretty costumes, burlesque-style atmosphere and simply to just watch an entertaining movie for which you can happily switch off your brain, then this will probably suit you just fine. If you like feel-good, coming-of-age stories with a happy ending, you’ll likely adore this.
The characters were aptly cast and while the acting wasn’t Oscar quality, it certainly wasn’t bland and rubbish either. It was good and solid, which is more than you generally get in movies of this type. The interactions were well done, the story’s pace generally evolved fast enough and the music wasn’t getting in the way of the story too much.
If you have a couple of hours to spend and you’re looking for a light and easy movie; if you like pretty costumes and singing, then this is something you could enjoy.
This story first appeared in Gatehouse Gazette 17 (March 2011), p. 8, with the headline “Burlesque”.