Cher + Christina + fabulous production numbers = Thanksgiving movie fun
Burlesque is a sort of Showgirls lite. At just a pG-13, there’s no nudity, no sex, no rape, no violence. There is a similar plot though as Ali (Christina) comes to LA from Iowa to become a star. She ends up in a club, aptly titled Burlesque, run by Tess (Cher) and she wants to strut her stuff across that stage. Ali makes friends with the bartender, spends about 10 minutes being a waitress and then she gets to audition and–boom! She’s got her spot in the chorus. Move forward another few minutes and due to some sabotage she’s got to bust out her Christina voice to save a performance. After Tess hears that, it’s all about building a show around her.
Meanwhile, in the movie’s other plots… Tess is on the verge of losing her club because she can’t keep up with her mortgage payments. Ali has to figure out if she’s going to be in love with bartender or the rich guy who wants the land the club sits on. The resolution to the losing-the-club plot was pretty cool.
Yes, we’ve seen this plot before in a many permutations. And that doesn’t matter at all. What makes this movie fun is Cher, Christina, Stanley Tucci (and it doesn’t matter he’s basically playing his character from Devil Wears Prada again) and hunky Cam Gigandet. They all deliver good performances, making even their kookiest dialgoue believable.
The production numbers are excellent and, in many cases, Fosse derivatives. Cher gets her moment in the sun twice with “Welcome to Burlesque,” which is a full blown production number, and “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me,” which is a nice ballad that is somewhat oddly thrown into the mix. Christina is awesome in all of the numbers, but particularly excellent were “Tough Lover” and the finale of “Show Me How You Burlesque.” The only thing missing, and I can imagine how this happened, Cher and Christina never sing together. Such a missed opportunity there.
Burlesque isn’t going to win any Oscars, but it is a fun way to spend 100 minutes (even if that 100 minutes costs you $13 per ticket like it did for us.)