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Friday, December 3, 2010

BURLESQUE

By D.E.Levine

By D.E.Levine

Director: Steve Antin
Writer: Steve Antin
Cast: Cher, Christina Aguilera, Alan Cumming, Eric Dane, Julianne Hough, Cam Gigandet, Peter Gallagher, Kristen Bell, Stanley Tucci, Dianna Agron, Glynn Turman,
David Walton, Terrence Jenkins, Chelsea Traille, Tanee McCall,
Producer: Donald De Line
Executive Producers: Dana Belcastro, Stacy Cramer, Glenn S. Gainor and Risa Shapiro
Associate Producer: Bojan Bezelli and Dave Goldberg
Original Music: Christophe Beck
Running Time: 119 Minutes
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Genre: Drama, Musical, Romance

Can a large budget, musical extravaganza with a strong cast of performers be a bad film? The answer, in this case, is yes.

Although Cher looks amazing and performs in her usual fashion, and Christina Aguilera has numerous musical numbers, elaborate costumes and a different wig in every scene, the magic just isn't there.

This may be because the story of an unknown country orphan (from Iowa here) who comes to Hollywood looking for a break and finally gets it, has been told repeatedly.

But there are other reasons why the film falls flat. In this case, the orphan (Ali) finds a place with the dysfunctional "family" of a seedy Sunset Strip club, initially working as a waitress and then, miraculously stepping in to fill the spot of a non-performing "star."

The elaborate costumes and original songs don't undo the garish appearance that accompanies each scene. While the songs are tuneful and in many cases the lyrics were written by Aguilera, you don't walk out humming them the way you did with Cabaret. Diane Warren provides the one ballad "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me", but the scene where it's presented doesn't do the song justice.

While the film tries to be glamorous, there's very little character development. We're not even certain how old Ali is or what her back story and motivation are for her.

When the music plays and the production numbers are on, the film is bearable. However, once the music stops there's nothing to convince the viewer that the characters are real and they have real hopes, dreams and motivation.