Apr 24, 2011

Burlesque, 2010

Burlesque, 2010
Director: Steve Antin
Cast: Cher, Christina Aguilera, Alan Cumming

Stage: Home theatre

Burlesque in short: The Burlesque Lounge has its best days behind it. Tess, a retired dancer and owner of the venue, struggles to keep the aging theater alive, facing all kinds of financial and artistic challenges. With the Lounge's troupe members becoming increasingly distracted by personal problems and a threat coming from a wealthy businessman's quest to buy the spot from Tess, the good fortune seems to have abandoned the club altogether. Meanwhile, the life of Ali, a small-town girl from Iowa, is about to change dramatically. Hired by Tess as a waitress at the Lounge, Ali escapes a hollow past and quickly falls in love with the art of burlesque. Backed by newfound friends amongst the theater's crew, she manages to fulfill her dreams of being on stage herself. Things take a dramatic turn though when Ali's big voice makes her become the main attraction of the revue.

Preps: I have heard roomers about this movie, yet was unable to see it. Now I have an exclusive chance, nevertheless I am not aware about the content a bit.

Reality: Whoa, news flash - we have Cher and Aguilera starring at the same movie. Can Christina act? Or Cher for that matter? (the surprise comes in the first round - at the trailer timing, at the beginning of the movie. My interest has just gone up 100%.

Now, the plot itself. Nothing really new. A "cow" girl, deciding she want's to see the Hollywood fame and taste stage. Leaving a waitress job behind and going to the big town to succeed. The upfall and the downfall of the same pattern we have seen in many movies. The first one that my brain surgically finds is Coyote Ugly. Very much alike in terms of plot.

Very different in execution. Coyote Ugly turns a performer into a waitress with an added value. Here quite the opposite. The way up for a waitress, shown in a romantic way. I assume that for most of the wannabe performance the reality check can be quite harsh. The movie definitely promotes Hollywood as the golden opportunity land. Forgets to mention that there are only a few that really succeed in becoming a celebrity or known, regardless of their talent.

The second idea that pops into my mind is the movie Cabaret from 1972, a classic that my mother used to watch over and over again. Hence, also me - always dreamed of starring in one of those shows. A splendid variety of stage cast, shown in the most bizarre and yet unique way for that time. Remember that in 1970ies there were practically no dance/singing movies, the cabaret seemed to be the first crossing of that border, or getting more in the musical direction. Now, Burlesque is in the same way, a crossing to the musical genre, however shown in the most profound way. I would love to be in a bar like this, in my honest opinion, it would be a good business idea also for states that not include Hollywood. And I am not aware if such a place (beside some good strip bars) actually exists. And if it was in reality, I would be there all the time, because I am really passionate about stage shows and would be willing to pay money for the entrance as well. Today when you go out to have fun, you only pay money to get into a bar, with no entertainment at all (usually this is the real case, at least in Slovenia). So as a business perspective, I cheer for the movie. From execution point of view, excellent performance of the dancers and singers. Truly amazing, what a good stage act can do for the viewer. Hence, if you are a fan of musicals / movies with a promotion of dancing, stage performances - you are going to fall in love with this one, because I think it is one of the closest connections to formerly mentioned Cabaret - only put into present tense and in a way you can find believable.

So, dancers, singers, fans of the genre, a strong recommendation. All the rest - there is more story in for instance Coyote Ugly. However, it is worth seeing as it touches the least known genre in the industry (or least abused one). And includes romance, personal challenge to succeed, business reality of running a club and last, but not least, great songs and performances. The ending is too much of a Hollywood, I guess. I am trying to say that rarely everything turns out OK, if you just wait and only look for a hideout in the mean time. We are not living always in a white house with a white fence. Sometimes such stories can occur. But mostly only in movies.

My personal rating: 7,0 (performance, voices, songs, stage acts. Lower on cast side and dialogues, strong on recognition in its genre).

Burlesque on IMDB

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