Friday 6 May 2011

Today's Review: Burlesque

Burlesque has been out on Blu-Ray for two weeks now, but I only just got around to watching it. How lazy of me. It's one I've been wanting to see though, just for morbid curiosity about how good it could be. It's okay. Not awful, not great. So I guess it met all my expectations really. 

Burlesque is basically a vessel for Christina Aguilera to show off a little bit of acting talent in between singing big song numbers on screen. Aguilera plays Ali, a girl who's had enough of her small town life and one day decides to quit her job and move to LA and become a singer. Of course, she has no problem moving or finding an apartment, even when she has no job to pick up when she gets there. But that's okay, because the first club she visits has some burlesque dancers, and the owner sings a song and Ali thinks "Wow, this is exactly what I wanna do". Then she asks the barman for a job and gets accepted straight away, 'cause that's how employment works in LA. 

The club is owned by Tess, played by Cher, who in a plot point that I never saw coming is having trouble with the club almost being foreclosed. She needs something special to start pulling in the money, and lo and behold, Ali butts into dancer auditions and bellows her lungs out, and everyone fawns over her because she's awesome. There is one girl, Nikkie (Kristen Bell) who has the perfectly natural human reaction of being massively jealous of all the attention being drawn away from her, but she's just portrayed as a massive bitch, so forget about her. 

All of this happens within the first hour, so the final half is basically devoted to Ali belting out various songs while dancing in skimpy outfits, all the while seeing no real change in the club's success because 
Tess is still in a bit of trouble. I appreciate that they've put the smallest bit of effort into the story of what is essentially a movie all about the music, but it just turns the whole thing into a fun game of seeing who can guess the most lines and plot point before they happen.

Also, Ali gets her place robbed, and for some reason can't go back there, so she shacks up with the number one barman while his girlfriend is away on business. Oh, you guessed it, they start to like each other. But it's not that simple, because he has a fianceƩ. At this point, once again, Burlesque chooses to employ an obvious plot point I've seen in so many movies recently, but it's one that I seriously have a pet peeve about. In the good old days, it used to be that if the main love interest was already taken, his other half would be a total bitch, and it would be clear that they should have never gotten together in the first place. Nowadays though, I feel sorry for the woman who will eventually get dumped for this new pretty version that's come along. They're not massively portrayed in a negative light at all. In fact, all that's said in Burlesque is that the guy's fianceƩ is always talking about herself. Fuck me, rip up the prenup and call off the wedding, we can't solve this slight by talking or anything, I'll just go and find some other woman.

But I digress, the plot is clearly not too important in this movie. If it was meant to be then they've failed. It's all about the music, the dance numbers, all that stuff. I've gotta say, I'm a sucker for a good song and dance, and I was sufficiently entertained during this movie. It wasn't all just Aguilera bursting out her wavering roars, she actually took some quiet time and sang a couple of smooth ballads. It sounded good, and it looked good. Even the acting in between wasn't the bad. Aguilera was actually quite good in my eye, although I couldn't figure out if it was because she can actually act a little, or if it was just that everyone else was so average she blended in quite nicely.

Burlesque isn't an awful film. Sure, it's bland and the storyline and dialogue are predictable, but if you get easily memerised by sequins and slutty outfits, this is one for you.

My rating: 3/5

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