24 ene. 2011

My Review: Burlesque (5/10)

¨I`ll be back, back on my feet. This is far from over. You haven`t seen the last of me.¨

Burlesque is not actually as bad as I expected it to be, but it still has a long way to go if it wanted to revive a dying genre: musicals. Moulin Rouge and Chicago were actually great films and it seemed as if the musical genre was finally going to have a comeback at the beginning of the decade, but in recent years these films have disappointed (with Nine almost burying the genre altogether). We have a long way to go if we want to get back to the glory days of musicals from the 50s and 70s. My favorite musical all time is Oliver! and I just happened to watch that movie a few months ago, so it`s a little unfair for me to judge Burlesque under those terms. The problem I have with musicals today is that most of the time the music is not part of the story, they are just there to entertain us and the story is told through acting, while on the other hand before each musical was used to tell the story and served a purpose. In Burlesque there are some good musical performances and fans of Christina Aguilera will probably be satisfied because she has several musical numbers and she is the main protagonist. This is her first acting job and she is not great, but her voice makes up for it and she does a lot of powerful singing. Fans of Cher might not be too excited because she has very little screen time and has only two musical performances (although ¨You Haven´t Seen the Last of Me¨ is probably the best one of the movie and should receive an Oscar nomination for Best Song). Burlesque is Steve Antin`s first feature film as a director and he also wrote the script for this movie. As a writer he hasn`t had a very promising career (Chasing Papi and Glory anyone?), but this is perhaps his best work to date (not much of a compliment however).

We are first introduced to Ali (Christina Aguilera), a waitress from a small town in Iowa who has big dreams and aspirations so she decides to move to Los Angeles. Once in LA she discovers a Burlesque club and immediately falls in love with it. The Burlesque Lounge is run by Tess (Cher) who owns half of the club- the other half belonging to her ex husband Vince (Peter Gallagher). Not everything is working out well for them as they are having great financial troubles and if they don`t come up with the money they will have to sell the club. Marcus (Eric Dane) is a very successful businessman (and ladies man for that matter) who wants to buy the lounge for personal reasons, but Tess is not ready to give up on her dream. Ali finds a job in Burlesque as a waitress and befriends Jack (Cam Gigandet), the bartender with whom she moves in with. Ali is waiting for her shot to become one of the Burlesque girls and when the door opens she will stop at nothing to make the best of it. When Tess hears her voice she realizes that the show must revolve around her, but is it enough to save the club?

The characters are one dimensional, but I`m guessing most people that go see Burlesque aren`t expecting three dimensional characters, they just want to hear these girls sing. In my opinion the burlesque lounge began as one and somehow along the way it got lost and became a Christina Aguilera concert (even the stage seemed to get bigger). The film also seems to resolve itself rather easily by the end. The highlight of the film for me was Stanley Tucci`s performance as Sean, the gay Stage Manager. Tucci is such a great actor and we have seen him give some terrific secondary performances before (The Devil Wears Prada) and he does so once again. The funniest moments of the film are thanks to him and he steals absolutely every scene he`s in. Burlesque was worth it just for his performance alone, but then I am not a Christina Aguilera nor Cher fan so it did grow tiresome and long at times for me. Cher doesn`t seem to have aged at all, she looks the same as she does ever since I can remember. Time seems to pass for everyone except for her. Her song ¨You haven`t seen the last of me¨ was my favorite performance from the movie. The movie is about two hours long and after a while you begin to feel the length of the film. I wouldn`t recommend this film unless you are a Christina Aguilera fan and in that case you will most probably enjoy her performance.

2 comentarios:

  1. Shortly I would like mostly to agree with you regarding the one dimension labored in the characterizations, this might be a product of the fallacy on character creation by the writer/director, who as you mentioned, can not be depicted as a poigniant scriptwriter. There are masters on this matter and actually quite young, such as Wes Anderson, who is just superb when building a personality with virtues and flaws. Also, it's your take on the movie being mostly an attraction to Aguilera's fans is mostly asserted. Wouldn't it be nice to see at least a fresh revival of Singing in the Rain or My Fair Lady any time soon? But who to cast... that would be a hoot to see. E.N

  2. I agree with you about Wes Anderson, he is absolutely brilliant! He can create the best characters! Well said Erika Nieto!!