“The Beautiful People” of ‘Burlesque’

First thing’s first.  Christina Aguilera…where have you been all my life?  Why have I never recognized your…um…talents until 2010?  Well anyway, the original deal between my writing partner Gregg Senko and I was that I would tackle the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movie review last week and he would take on Burlesque.  After all, it only seemed more fitting since Gregg is into dance and musicals way more than I.  Funny thing though was that while I immensely enjoyed Burlesque (oh no…the cat’s out of the bad…already!), Gregg only so-so cared for it. Therefore, an accord was struck between the two of us that maybe I should write the movie review for Burlesque since I felt the most passionate about the film.  So here I am!  And gosh, how many times can one say Burlesque in a paragraph.  Whew!

Dictionary.com defines “burlesque” as a humorous and provocative stag show featuring slapstick humor, comic skits, bawdy songs, striptease acts and a scantily clad female chorus.  I can’t really disagree with that definition, but after Monday night’s press screening I would like to add the words “Christina Aguilera” to the term’s meaning.  Pure eye candy!  And oh yeah, the girl has talent too.  Bada bing, bada boom!  In addition to the beautiful starlet, the film also features the ‘forever young” diva Cher, Stanley Tucci (one of my favorite actors as of late), Cam Gigandet (I found my Tom Arnold!), Alan Cumming, Julianne Hough, Peter Gallagher, Kristen Bell (I thought Gregg was going to fall out of his seat when he saw her) and Grey’s Anatomy TV hunk, Eric Dane (“The Stud”).  Although it’s no secret that the film was built as a vehicle for Cher to shine and pass on the torch to Aguilera, one should not overlook the performance of Tucci.  And that’s all I will say about that…for the moment.

The story of Burlesque goes a little something like this.  When we first meet Ali Rose (Aguilera) she is seen escaping her small-town doom by figuratively cashing in all her chips with dreams to make it big in Hollywood.  Tell me something (as Dave Mustaine would say in “Peace Sells”).  We all have that same dream, don’t we?  Anyway, don’t let Christina’s small stature fool you.  Beneath that brilliant and utterly sexy disguise she dons lies a very big voice reckoning to be heard by the masses.  So she just so happens to stumble upon The Burlesque Lounge by accident, attracted by the bright lights and a sultry dancer adjusting her stockings outside the club.  Isn’t that how we all choose where we are going to work?  But anyway, despite the club’s owner, Tess (Cher), wanting nothing to do with her, Ali takes it upon herself to become a waitress and flawlessly lands the gig.  If nothing else, you have to admire the girl’s spunk and determination.  Wow!  I wish I were that bold in life.

It’s not long before Ali seemingly manages to land herself within the dancing stage show.  It’s ultimately a decision that Tess will never regret.   Trust me!  There’s just one problem.  Ali will never get to show off her killer voice because they only do lip-syncing at the club.  Does that present a problem for Ali?  Of course it does, but we are talking about Christina Aguilera here folks.  She will find a way to use her super powers for all to see.  Don’t you worry!  However, with the good always comes the bad, right?  At least in the world of movies this is true.  I mean it has to be or else where is the drama?  Where are the conflicting factors that glue us to the screen?  Don’t worry.  I have your back here.  It’s during Ali’s rise to the top that a complicated “triangle” (as I term it) of problems develops.  Really though, a girl should only be this lucky.  Let’s see, first there’s the bartender (Gigandet) who befriended her in the beginning and now all the sudden has overwhelming feelings for her despite being engaged to another woman.  Everybody wants to see his cookies.  Next, there’s this sexy siren of a performer named Nikki (Bell) who grows extremely jealous of the spotlight being stole from her (I call this the Showgirls syndrome).  She’s the enemy here…obviously.  You got to have one of those.  And finally, a charming and I guess you can call him handsome entrepreneur, Marcus Gerber (Dane), has dual interests of his own, sweeping Ali off her feet and buying the club outright from Tess for his own properties.  Whoa!  What’s a small-town farm girl ever going to do to remedy all of this?  Don’t stereotype her because she’s blonde.  She’s not as dumb as you may think.  After all, this is Christina Aguilera, folks.  Don’t count her out.  She will save the day and prevail.  She has to, right?  In an effort to remain spoiler free, I’m not going to tell you anymore.

So does it take a legend to make a star?  I would say in this case it doesn’t, but it certainly doesn’t hurt either.  Truly, Christina’s character would have gained recognition one way or another eventually with her God given talents, but having a mentor like Cher could only be more than you could ever ask for, in my opinion.  Thankfully, the movie did not focus on Tess making too many stupid decisions, but every time she did, Tess was there to mentor and guide her in the right direction.  I wish we all had a Tess in life.  But perhaps more importantly, maybe the dynamic duo here wasn’t the Cher/Christina Aguilera tag team, but perhaps the Cher/Stanley Tucci tag team.  Their chemistry here was just perfect.  Sure, Tucci may be stereotyped for his homosexual roles as of late, but whatever I see him in, he’s just a solid actor and he knows how to deliver.  I look forward to many more Tucci film roles.

Well I think you get the big picture.  I LOVED this film!  It will no doubt end up in my “Top 10” of the year list and it will be a Day #1 purchase on my beloved Blu-ray format.  So now, what about that title I gave this review up above?  Don’t you want to know what it means?  C’mon, don’t be shy.  I know you do.  Even if you don’t, I’m going to tell you anyway.   How many Marilyn Manson fans do we have here?   Can I see a show of hands?  Oh alright, I can’t really see your hands anyway.  It was just a figure of speech.  Don’t get your panties all in a bunch.  The film and accompanying soundtrack, for that matter, features a very remixed and refreshingly reprised version of Marilyn Manson’s “The Beautiful People” and it rocks, in its own little unique way.  If nothing else, it put a smile on my face.  And last but not least, let’s not forget all the beautiful people within this film.  I’m not sure how Cher manages to still look like she’s a prettier version of a skeleton in her elder 40’s, but she’s doing something right without having to don the Star Child KISS makeup.  And let’s not forget about the girls…the dancers of The Burlesque Lounge.  Did you think they would put ugly people in there?  Guess again!  Screen Gems’ Burlesque opens nationwide today and I strongly suggest that you get off you’re a$$ tonight and go see this.  You’re not going to see anything new or revolutionary in the world of filmmaking here, but you will be treated to your fair share of glitter, gams and glam.  What more can a guy ask for?   Thank you Christina!  – From your new #1 fan


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

13 Responses to ““The Beautiful People” of ‘Burlesque’”

  1. Gregg Senko

    I enjoyed this movie though it was a tad weak in the acting department at times; especially on Aguilera’s behalf. The production numbers were great and Aguilera’s vocal ability is incredible. How she draws such musical force from such a petite frame is boggling.

    The newspapers haven’t been so kind to “Burlesque,” saying the whole movie is weak and the lighting is bad. A lot of the film takes place in a night club. What do you expect? It’s not a baseball stadium. I didn’t like it enough to buy it, but this movie is certainly one worth seeing in the theaters.

  2. Anna

    I’m looking forward to seeing this film!

  3. Brian White

    Yeah, I can admit that Christina’s acting was a little awkward at times, but as Cher said in an interview…it was her first time and they reshot some scenes where Cher gave her some advice to boost her dramatic performances. It was not bothersome at all to me.

    As far as the newspaper’s darkness comment, that’s the stupidest thing I ever heard of.

  4. Gerard Iribe

    Cher and Christina and Burlesque? Two the of the unlikeliest people to be in a film about “Burlesque.”

    The music video of Marylin Manson’s “M0bScene” is more burlesque than this looks.


  5. Aaron Neuwirth

    Christina was part of Lady Marmalade – the smash hit single about a Burlesque show.

    Cher has had her various large scale stage shows for years.

    The two seem pretty apt for the roles.

  6. Brian White

    I have never been so grateful to see a comment from Aaron. Thanks for coming to my rescue 🙂

  7. Gerard Iribe

    @Aaron – I’d hardy call that burlesque.

  8. Brian White

    How could u not call Moulin Rouge burlesque?

  9. Aaron Neuwirth

    But “unlikeliest” isn’t justified for those two compared to say Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren.

  10. Gerard Iribe

    @Brian – Moulin Rouge has burlesque flourishes, but isn’t the real deal.

    I’ve actually been to burlesque shows and they rock. All of this stuff that we’ve been talking about is burlesque-light.

    If that.

  11. Sean Ferguson

    Wow I didn’t know Glitter 2 was out or was this Showgirls 2? Hard to tell…

  12. Brian White

    Hey you need to be nice. I never said anything bad about the questionable DVD titles you review. I get worried sometimes.

  13. Sean Ferguson

    Relax my good man, I was just kidding around with you. I have no intention of watching this movie unless Jami rents it. However, I do have to say that Kristen Bell does offer some incentive to watch it. Besides, most of the time I’m reviewing good stuff except for the time you sent me Troll 2. Jami on the other hand…