Finally saw this movie! I was pretty keen on it, although I must confess I had no idea what ‘Burlesque’ actually meant. I knew it was a dance form but not much more. From the posters I saw, I assumed it would be something ‘cabaret-like’, similar to Moulin Rouge. This movie is not like that at all…shows what I know 😛
I wanted to see it mainly coz I’m a HUGE Cher fan! I love her – both her voice and her acting skills in movies such as Silkwood, Mermaids & Moonstruck. I didn’t want to pass up the chance to see her on-screen after a long hiatus and I’m glad I didn’t! Turns out burlesque is the mother of strip-tease (no puns here…it really is the dance form from which strip-tease evolved!). Thanks to Google, I learnt that it was first popularized as early as the 14th Century through Chaucer’s satirical The Canterbury Tales. Quoting from Wikipedia here, “Before burlesque became associated with striptease, it was a form of musical and theatrical parody in which an opera or piece of classical theatre was treated in a broad, often risqué style very different from the original form.”
In the movie, Burlesque is also the name of the club run by Cher. Here, exotic dancers wearing suggestive, over the top costumes, replete with rhinestones and feathers, perform a highly exaggerated version of musical theater, laced with humor & sexual innuendos, much to the delight of an enthusiastic audience. Into this mix enters Christina Aguilera, who plays Ally, a small-town girl from Iowa, in search of new beginnings in LA. She happens upon a performance in the club and is mesmerized by the spectacle…much like we are 🙂 She worms her way into the club first as a waitress and eventually as a dancer, by her sheer gumption and a powerful singing voice. Cam Gigandet (cute!), plays Jack the bartender from Kentucky, (who both Ally and I thought was gay at first :P), who befriends Ally when her ex-boss finds her, wrecks her room and takes all her money. The two fall for each other after becoming room-mates, and the fact that Jack is engaged provides the mandatory complication before all is sorted out. Kristen Bell (Another talented actor. Loved her in Veronica Mars), plays Nikki, the brattish, self-absorbed, alcoholic main dancer, until she’s fired and replaced by Ally. The villain of the piece if you will is Marcus Gerber (a suave Eric Dane), who plays a businessman desperate to buy out the club.
This is a sweet, intimate movie with an ensemble cast and some exceptionally choreographed song & dance performances! The latter are expected, since the movie is set in a dance-club after all, but Cher raises the bar with her exceptional vocals, stunning looks (she’s 65 for Pete’s sake!), and sensitive performance. I absolutely love her introduction scene and later when she sings “You haven’t seen the last of me”, I got goose-flesh! Again, I found out later that she won a Golden Globe for that song and deservedly so 🙂 Aguilera does a great job playing the vulnerable but gutsy Ally, who has the chutzpah to know what she wants and go after it! And her powerful vocals and superlative dancing skills, only help add depth to her character and make it more believable. But I must confess my favorite character after Cher in this movie is Stanley Tucci, who plays her long-time friend, confidant & cheer-leader! Here is an actor par excellence who shines in every role he does no matter how small. Have always loved him and always will 🙂
So, all in all, an enjoyable day at the movies with some wicked singing and dancing…time well spent 🙂 Watch this for sheer entertainment and the pleasure of listening to Cher’s unique & Aguilera’s powerful vocals!
Welcome to Burlesque 🙂