An author of Speculative Fiction, speculates about fiction.

>Burlesque

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I could start with excuses. I could claim I was coerced. I could say I did it for love, or maybe I was under the influence. I could try and be macho and insinuate Aguilera’s figure was the reason. But it’s not about me, so let’s just move on, shall we?

            I know I bash on about recycled plots, I say it in almost every review I write, but I want to say one thing for the record.
            It’s not necessarily a bad thing.
            Maybe it’s the New Year Hope in me, the faint glimmer that the world isn’t so bad. Maybe there was a bad mushroom on that pizza. Either way, I’d like to say that recycled plots are there for a reason. It’s because they work. They’re less recycled, and more of an (arguably) winning formula.
            Now, let’s never mention this again.
Aguilera didn’t see the Invisible Ninja strike until it was too late.
Burlesque has your basic musical chick-flick plot (or formula, if you will). The same that was in Fame and Step Up, or Coyote Ugly going all the way back to Dirty Dancing. Actually, the similarities to Coyote Ugly in particular are astonishing. So, a young girl
(Christina Aguilera) arrives in a new town and sets her heart on becoming part of the local Burlesque troupe. Of course, to make it seem like there’s some sub plot, the club is in danger of shutting down. In comes Cher who manages to act without moving any of her face. She needs money bad, and there’s a whole thing about how she’ll get money and how the club is going to be bought and turned into flats. Now here’s where the writer/director (Steve Antin) has obviously done his homework. The brief business jargon section that explains why Burlesque is so sought after is actually extremely convincing and well thought out.
            But let’s not get sidetracked.
            Aguilera sings. Aguilera becomes the queen of the Burlesque. Aguilera manages to split up a perfectly happy couple and take the man for herself.
            But it’s not just eye candy for the guys. Although it mostly is. There’s plenty here for girls to see and do. Eric Dane, for one. Who plays a bit of a tool, but a rich, attractive one. And Cam Gigandet as the easily-swayed bar tender, Jack. Not that he has much of a chance when Aguilera moves into his apartment like some braless squatter. The thief who trashes her apartment earlier in the film obviously stole all her underwear and due to her financial issues, she is incapable of buying more. To be fair to Gigandet, he lasted a hell of a lot longer that I would’ve.
Aguilera: “You’re shiny”
Now, I’m not a musicals fan. But you could probably have guessed that. I hate the fact that a group of a hundred perfect strangers all become so touched by the stench and dirt of a Victorian market day, that they begin to sing together, in tune, to a song they’re apparently making up as they go along. And the dancing! Who the hell dances with a goose under their arm?
            Luckily for Burlesque, the excuse for spontaneous boogie-fever is inherent in the plot. And as such, I quite enjoyed the dancey, musicy bits. The songs were pretty good, the choreography was as excellent as you’d hope and expect. Aguilera, as we all know, can hold a tune. No surprises there then. The only bit that bothers me was Cher. Not even in general, as her acting is pretty good in this one. It’s her song; slapped in the middle like a Post-it on the DVD cover. It’s forced, it’s cheesy, and it’s clearly there to meet the Plastic Queen’s contract.
            But overall, despite the cast being hideous to look at (I just had to tear my eyes away sometimes ;oD), and a healthy dose of cheese, it’s quite good. It’s enjoyable even. It won’t be entering my list of “Watch Again” movies but it’s in there. Well, not unless I have an evening to myself…
6/10
“Go on Guys, make the excuse.”
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