Popcorn rating: -1/5
I like to consider myself an even tempered, liberal type – open to new ideas, not one to judge a book by its cover, slow to anger etc. Burlesque, the 2010 musical drama directed by Steve Antin, however, has disabused me off those silly notions. For I can truly say that if I ever have to sit through this unadulterated, insulting to movie viewers, ridiculous pap I may very well be driven to violence.
Let there be no qualms or queries. This is a terrible movie, nay, this is a truly, utterly, downright dreadful movie. How this piece of celluloid garbage ever had the audacity to get funded, get made and get a distribution deal shall evermore remain a mystery to me. And I say that, not as a pompous film critic wittering on about the haunting beauty of say, Terrence Malick. No, my dears, I say that as someone who, every now and then, quite likes a bad movie, even the odd chick flick. Hell, I can admit it, I rather enjoyed Miss Congeniality. But even my low standards have limits.
Over the past couple of years burlesque, as in the art form practiced by the lovely Dita Von Teese, has had a bit of a revival. In fact, corsets and feathers and sparkly nipple tassles, is currently somewhat of a staple of dance classes and hen parties across this fair isle and, presumably, the US too. Unashamedly cashing in on this trend comes Burlesque, the “film”. As wanted by absolutely no one at all. Ever. Probably.
Burlesque tells the well worn story of a small town (and, handily, orphan) gal trying to make her way in the glitz and glammer of the big city. Said orphan is Christina Aguilera in a wig, simpering her way through life as the painfully bland Ali. Fed up in Dullsville, off Ali and her wig trot to LA, where she lands herself a job in a burlesque joint run by the hard hearted (but secretly good hearted) Tess, played by Cher’s death mask.
Naturally, almost everybody loves Ali on sight (“she’s good on the inside too”) and soon she lands her dream job on the stage, where even the big dance pieces fail miserably to ignite, though not for lack of Aguilera’s warbling attempts at song. Anyway, angelic Ali is soon busy battling the baddest burlesque babe in town (a faintly embarrassed Kristen Bell – who is surely so much better than this) and being swept off her feet by the local bad boy with money. Cher’s death mask lurches around in the background as a pseudo mother figure, the token gay character offers sage and humorous advice and the cute barman secretly lusts after Ali – but are they destined to be together forever? Will the dancing folk fend off the evil businessman and save their club? Well, what do you think?
That’s it. That is really it. If you have 119 mins (almost two full hours) of your life to lose, please feel free to watch. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.