The story itself is a bit superficial, it’s mostly there to fill the gap between the elaborate musical numbers. However, the story is enough for the vehicle it carries, a happy ending and all.
Cher, as the club’s owner Tess is headlining, but the whole show is undoubtedly Christina Aguilera as country girl turned burlesque artist Ali. I’m old enough to say that in my life I’ve seen most of the early modern day singers, many in concert. Little Christina Aguilera isn’t just in a class of her own. Ms. Aguilera is in another universe, maybe even another dimension. Her voice has a tonal quality, power and range that is simply astounding. But the best part is that she knows how to get the most out of this magnificent instrument.
Every second that Christina Aguilera is on screen, she is absolutely fascinating. You can’t take your eyes off her; and not just because she is remarkably beautiful. Here she is in this movie, surrounded by lots of extremely beautiful and talented women, but they all seem to blend into the background fog when she is on. She has something more than beauty. She radiates raw animal magnetism and positively broods in a sort of unidentifiable sexual power that simply eclipses everything around her. In short, this movie is worth watching just for Aguilara’s screen time.
If you can tear yourself away from watching Christina, there’s more to see here. All the participants performed well. All of the dancers around him are talented and wonderful to watch. All together they create a very memorable entertainment. Kristen Bell as Nikki and Julianne Hough as Georgia are great, but it’s Bell who is the surprise. Being so used to seeing her as the usual blonde set in romantic comedies, she surprised me with her talent as a dancer. She’s really good. And, Hough is a given in a dance costume; as impeccably tall as she is beautiful.
For me, the performance that I enjoyed the most besides Christina’s was Stanley Tucci as Sean. Mr. Tucci is a great talent who adds character and charm to everything he does and he won’t disappoint anyone here.
I saved the negatives for last and none of them have anything to do with the casting. I found that I didn’t like the sound as it was presented. The techniques they used tended to make the performances feel like all canned / synchronized on the lips. I’m sure they thought the vocals had more power than the way they did, but it really took a toll on the overall presentation.
The decision to make a PG-13 rated film was undoubtedly made to try and capture buyers of children’s tickets. Honestly, I think if they really went out of their way and made an honest R-rated movie with a more grown-up slant, it would’ve been better and more profitable in the long run. To me, trying to do something called “BURLESQUE” other than an adult movie seems ridiculous at first glance.
Despite the negatives, it’s still so entertaining. I’ll take friends to see him with a clear conscience.
By Bruce L. Jones