60 Second Movie Review: Burlesque
January 13, 2011 in 60 Second Movie Review
On November 18th, I had the very distinct pleasure of attending the preview of Burlesque with Cher and Christina Aguilera. No, they weren’t in the theater with me; they were in the movie. I merited this privilege because my Pole Fitness studio was a sponsor and we were putting on the owner’s version of a Burlesque routine. Let me stop here real quick and say that I love the owners of the studio I go to, but they don’t know squat about Burlesque. Anyway, back to the review of the movie.
It opens in typical fashion: small town girl looks around her, sees no future, and decides to high tail it to the big bright lights of LaLa Land. Cut to Lala Land where she pounds the pavement all day long, looking for work as a singer or dancer, but to no avail. At the end of the day, Starbucks Frappachino in hand, she stumbles on a Burlesque dancer adjusting her stocking on the outside balcony of…The Burlesque Lounge! (Yes, I know – very creative name.) She goes inside the club which, swear to whichever higher power you believe (or don’t believe) in, looks like a modernized version of the Kit Kat Club from the 1972 film version of Cabaret. Right on down to Alan Cummings, Cam Gigandet, and every member of the supporting cast who were bartenders or in the live band’s costumes.
Cher makes her first appearance in what could almost have been a costume from her personal wardrobe, singing about her club. She introduces the “Dancers” quickly and goes off screen briefly. Christina meets Cam’s character Jack, who is so HOT in this movie it makes you forget that he was the evil sparkly vampire James in the Twilight movie. Trust me, he redeems himself and removes any remaining taint from that horrible excuse of a story. He gives her a business card and tells her that if she wants to work at the club she needs to talk to Tess (Cher). It is here that you meet Nicki (Kristen Bell) and Sean (Stanley Tucci), who all have bits of conversation with Ali (Christina).
It is from this point forward that I think the movie loses some of its focus. The majority of the action still happens in the club, but the majority of the storyline is focused on the interpersonal relationships that are formed among the characters. The Neo-Burlesque style of dancing and music selections blended well with the costume choices, a few of which were a nice nod to the more traditional burlesque costumes of old. Lily Ann Rose, a Burlesque star from the 1940’s, was sitting in the row behind me along with two members of a local Burlesque troop. She was very blunt in stating that there was no Burlesque in the movie and, by traditional standards, she was right. By Neo-Burlesque standards, however, the dancing showcased in the movie was the very definition of what Neo-Burlesque offers.
This is a great date night movie. The singing and the dancing are fantastic to watch no matter which side of the Burlesque stage you dance on (traditional, like I do, or Neo- Burlesque, which is depicted in the movie and is a somewhat popular alternative). There’s lots of visual comedy as well as some great comments made. The script is fantastically written and I suddenly want Glee to do a Burlesque themed episode and have both Cher and Christina reprise their roles. The product placement in this movie is exceptionally hard to miss, but easily forgiven for the way it is used.