Wednesday, 8 June 2011

BRIDGING THE GAP: BURLESQUE (R2 DVD)


"Ali (Christina Aguilera), a small town singer, moves to the big city for her chance at stardom. Upon arrival she is enchanted by the T&A of Burlesque (well I was anyway), a glamorous nightclub packed with dancers, sizzling music, little clothing and an owner in need of a shorter face (Cher). Jam-packed with stunning songs and an all-star cast that includes Eric Dane, Kristen Bell and Stanley Tucci, Burlesque bridges the gap between Showgirls and Glee with reckless enthusiasm.

What it lacks however, besides a decent script, is the obligatory rivalry and bitterness. Glee presents a sugarcoated version perhaps, but with genuine talent comes much hostility. In Showgirls, they just kind of push each other down the stairs. Burlesque opens promisingly, delivering a wide array of catchy show tunes, gay dancers and big hair days, but just past the 90 minute mark it becomes clear that writer/director Steve Antin forgot to bring a backing track.

Burlesque has nowhere else to go. The characters are paper-thin, romance is lost beneath a wave of familiarity, and performances are decidedly uneven. Kristin Bell ‘brings on the bitch’ but to no avail - Steve Antin doesn’t seem interested in characterisation and plotting - not when he has Christina’s lungs at his disposal. To be fair, she acquits herself rather well, even when she’s called upon to act, but it’s Stanley Tucci who walks away with top honours. Possessing more heart, passion and warmth than the entire cast put together, it’s comforting to know that he still looks good in the worst kind of drag.

If it’s a two-hour music video you’re after, Christina’s diva fever should just about suffice, because the belting show tunes provide a welcome break from movie clich├ęs like storytelling and characterisation. Burlesque remains fun in places - camp, frothy and brimful of good intention - but there’s little beneath the undergarments that warrant a lasting impression."

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