Burlesque (2010)

Starring: Cher, Christina Aguilera, Stanley Tucci, Cam Gigandet, Alan Cumming, Julianne Hough, Eric Dane, Peter Gallagher,

Directed by: Steve Antin

Rating: 1 2 and a half

Christina Aguilera in Burlesque

It's not often a film comes with a prescription for alcohol: Night of the Living Dorks, Zombie Strippers and George of the Jungle are movies all best viewed through beer goggles, and now Burlesque (a film not dissimilar to Zombie Strippers when you come to think about it) joins their dubious ranks. And even through a haze of white wine and cocktails, it's hard to suspend disbelief sufficiently to give credence to this über-glitzy, ultra-lite concoction of sequins, suspenders and silly, silly dialogue.

Making Coyote Ugly look like a gritty documentary, the film follows the story of Ali (Christina Aguilera), a pretty young waitress from Iowa who hops on a Greyhound bus (probably) to pursue her dreams of stardom in LA.

Cher as Tess and Cam Gigandet as Jack in Burlesque

These dreams appear to extend no further than dancing in a ritzy burlesque club on Sunset Strip, where she acquires a job waitressing. The club, run by a fearsome madam called Tess (Cher), aided by loyal sidekick Sean (Stanley Tucci, camping it up as only Stanley Tucci can), is, of course, in dire financial trouble. What can be done to save the day? Could the fact that Ali is a thinly-disguised worldwide stadium superstar in a wig possibly provide a solution?

With her monotonous delivery and limited repertoire of facial expressions (she has two: flirty and surprised), Christina Aguilera is hardly going to set the world alight with her acting skills. Even paralysed by Botox and surgery, that old trooper Cher (once an Oscar winning actress, lest we forget) still acts her off the screen, and she can only do one expression (let's just call it 'Cher face').

Christina Aguilera and dancers in Burlesque

But nobody's paying to see Christina act (if you were, it's time to ask for your money back). No, Burlesque is all about the glamorous costumes, high octane dance routines (albeit lacking the true razzle dazzle of the Fosse moves they ape) and the songs bellowed out courtesy of our heroine's 'mutant lungs'.

Oh, and as if someone discovered a little-known Hollywood by-law stating you can't make a film set in a cabaret bar without him, we even get token mascot Alan Cumming as a sardonic doorman – they probably didn't even need to pay him.

Cabaret, Chicago, Sweet Charity, Burlesque: three of these are classic seedy dance club movies; the other one is Burlesque. But mix well with white wine and good girlie company and it's a recipe for a fun-filled evening nonetheless.

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