Reviewed by Marc Glassman
Steve Antin, director and writer
Starring: Christina Aguilera (Ali), Cher (Tess), Stanley Tucci (Sean), Cam Gigandet (Jack), Eric Dane (Marcus), Kristen Bell (Nikki), Peter Gallagher (Vince), Alan Cumming (Alexis)
Just when you thought that the B-movie musical was kaput, up pops Burlesque, a stunning example of how bad taste, over the top singing, tacky costumes and a hackneyed plot can keep audiences entertained for two hours.
Christina Aguilera plays Ali, a hick from the Mid-West, who decides that she’s died and gone to Heaven after getting a job at Tess’s (Cher) Burlesque Lounge. Run like a deranged sorority by Tess and her able (and very gay) assistant Sean (Tucci), the Lounge is experiencing extreme financial difficulties–no surprise given that the floor shows rival Vegas while the seating capacity at this L.A. Burley-Q must number 50.
Can Tess, Sean and Ali save the Lounge? Need you ask? The pleasures in the film come from Aguilera’s heartfelt renditions of Etta James’ scorchers “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” and “Tough Lover,” Tucci’s charming approximation of a gay costume designer and the chance to see Cher trot out her laconic, deadpan approach to acting one mo’ time.