Monday, 7 February 2011

Burlesque Film Review

Ever since watching Phantom of the Opera and Chicago, I have loved musicals and this new movie starring Christina Aguilera appeared to be similar, so I gave it ago.


~~~THOUGHTS ON PLOT~~~
Ali (Christina Aguilera) quits her waitressing job and heads to LA, hoping to pursue a career in singing. She stumbles across the "Burlesque Club" and is immediately enticed into this show business. Despite being ignored and rejected by owner Tess (Cher), Ali is determined and starts waitressing at the club at her own free will.


Stumbling in on an audition she was never told about, she gives it her best shot and wows Tess, landing herself a role on stage, leading to a feud with former leading lady Nikki (Kristen Bell). As her popularity rises due to her stunning vocals, Ali is hot property and must decide who she is going to trust in order to succeed.


I felt that the scene is set very quickly. Poor girl with great vocals moves to big city in search of fame and fortune. I love that the feud with Kristen Bell is set almost instantly when she walks into the dressing room, but this is not carried forward enough amidst Ali's quick rise to the stage.

This is perhaps the big flaw to this movie. For a large part of the movie, we are just watching Christina Aguilera belt out stunning vocals to an elaborate stage set, opposed to singing about what troubles her, her problems, things happening in her life etc. There isn't enough sabotage, conflict or corruption between characters that really could take this film to a whole new level.

For instance, Nikki could be much more evil and sabotage Ali in every way she can, steal her man, steal her spotlight etc... but she seems far too passive. Only in one scene does she carry out an active role of sabotage, and only does so in order for the plot to reveal Ali's vocals.

Whilst this movie shares many themes with Coyote Ugly and Chicago, it fails to go that bit further in creating a dynamic and engrossing storyline. Instead, it is too airy fairy and "feel good" in tone. Once she gets on that stage, there is no doubt that she will succeed. No problem seems too great for this girl, and hence the climatic build up isn't one of tension or anxiety but one of due success.


As with all musicals, this one is no different in the beautiful costumes worn by the actresses. I think this is one area this film excels as they are truly elaborate and well thought out, extremely coherent and suited to the song and theme. One of my favourites is the one with the hand prints and another is the pearl dress.


The romantic element in this movie is so cliched- good looking man realises he falls for Ali and then goes for her as another guy likes her, but he's flawed given he's engaged and then all hell breaks loose when Ali finds out he's been lying to her etc etc... and then all soppy apologies at the end... you get my drift.

Ending wise it is as expected. The tone set out lasts till the end and you KNOW it will be a happy ending. In this way, I guess the climax of the movie was the finale number which was pretty stunning, though not much different to the rest- they were all stunning vocally!


~~~CAST~~~
Christina Aguilera- Ali
Cher- Tess
Kristen Bell- Nikki
Cam Gigandet- Jack

Also stars Peter Gallagher, Eric Dane (Marcus), Dianna Agron and Stanley Tucci.

As I said, Christina Aguilera looks stunning and her vocals were truly amazing. Surprisingly, she was believable playing innocent at the beginning, but good girls go bad, and she definitely suited the more feisty her.

Kristen Bell plays the baddy Nikki and I thought she was good in the bits she was in but wasn't given enough scope for any more depth- she could've been so much more evil- so potential wasted. Bell is too good to be soft.

Cam Gigandet was an ok surprise playing Mr Nice Guy given he was far from nice in "The OC"- he killed Marissa! D: His OC Co-star Peter Gallagher was flat but nice to see Glee star Dianna Agron in the movie.

~~~OVERALL~~~
From the trailer and the first scene of this movie, it feels like a cross between Chicago and Coyote Ugly, but lack of a deep plot and antagonists result in this film falling short of spectacular. Christina Aguilera's vocals were spot on, but she pretty much dominated the vocals and the lack of diversity in song makes this almost like a Christina Aguilera concert DVD themed to Burlesque opposed to a film about Burlesque starring Christina Aguilera. This is a movie Aguilera fans must see, but for the average film goer, this is hit or miss.

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