Alert
Close

Help Decide the Future of Aging. Join the White House’s Live Stream From Cleveland Monday. Learn more

Highlights

Open

Bob Dylan Talks!
Caucasian couple looking at a laptop computer together

Horoscope

Taurus - AARP Horoscope

Look at what your future holds if your birthday is between April 19 & May 20

CONTESTS & SWEEPS

2015 LIFE@50+ MIAMI

Renew for 3 and attend Life at 50+ for free

Most Popular

Viewed

Cher Returns to the Big Screen in 'Burlesque'

A campy musical pairs a Hollywood icon with a young pop diva — and leaves us spellbound.

Burlesque

Cher stars in Screen Gems' Burlesque. — Courtesy Sony Pictures

  

Burlesque (PG-13)

En español  |  The simple but brilliant marketing tag for Screen Gems' much-anticipated musical Burlesque reads, "It takes a legend to make a star." How true it is. Without Cher, Burlesque wouldn’t work, but Cher couldn’t have done it alone either.

In his feature film debut, writer/director Steven Antin, best known for making music videos for The Pussycat Dolls and Girlicious, brilliantly casts the music and screen legend (it reportedly took some aggressive wooing to draw her from a seven-year hiatus) as Tess, proprietor of a classic Hollywood burlesque club, where she mamma-mentors a gaggle of glamorous and über-flexible girl dancers. In walks Christina Aguilera (known as Ali, with the accent on the A), a former waitress who has just high-tailed it out of Iowa with dreams of a life in the spotlight in Los Angeles. Cher has met her match.

No, this isn’t a competition. And, in truth, Tess serves less as Ali’s teacher than as her ticket into the family The Burlesque Lounge offers — a nurturing environment that Ali woefully lacks, as we learn her mother was killed when she was seven. We come to know little more about Ali the person until mid-movie, when she proves tenacious enough to win Tess’s approval to be part of her show. ("Burlesque," by the way, in no way implies "strip tease;" these dancers are cheeky and risqué, but what they're doing isn't sexual.) Later, Ali becomes Tess's star when she finally lets loose her vocal cords and sings, instead of lip-synching, after the sound system at the club gets yanked by a jealous Nikki (Kristen Bell), the former lead dancer.

Neither the script nor Aguilera's limited acting chops will satisfy the viewer looking for sophisticated character studies. That said, the familiar story Burlesque offers up is contagious: Innocent Midwestern talent heads to Hollywood, fights for a place for herself, gets recognized, and finds love while she's at it. It especially appealed to me that in Burlesque, the protége's fantasies are within reason: She wants to perform at the very cozily appealing Burlesque Lounge, even though her voice, according to opportunists such as Marcus (respectably played by the very handsome Eric Dane), could land her in a much bigger venue.

There is some decent acting in this movie, namely by up-and-comer Cam Gigandet, who plays the bartender and eventual love interest of Ali, as well as by Stanley Tucci, the right-hand man to Tess in the nightclub business. I was a little disappointed by Peter Gallagher, who plays Tess's ex-husband, a man beleaguered by the balloon payment coming due on the club. There's also a happy cameo by James Brolin.

Still, this isn't a movie about plot, or subtlety. I found simple pleasure sitting in the theater watching it, being taken completely away from the current landscape of economic shrinkage and international conflict, getting pounded by the rhythms emanating from The Burlesque Lounge.  I was especially wowed by the two numbers performed alone — "Welcome to Burlesque" and "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me."  That girl still has chops.

 

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Advertisement

 

Movies for Grownups Radio

Download weekly podcasts of celebrity interviews, entertainment news and more. Listen


Movies for Grownups Awards

AARP honors the films and filmmakers who make the movies we want to see. Read

300_line
100 Must-See Movies for Grownups

100 Must-See Movies for Grownups

By Bill Newcott
E-book
January 2015


A treasure trove of delightfully offbeat recommendations for discerning moviegoers, from the beginnings of film right up the present.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Live Nation

Members save 25% or more when buying tickets in groups of four from Ticketmaster.

Cirque Du Soleil

Members save 15-30% on tickets to live Cirque du Soleil shows with their AARP membership card.

Member Benefit AARP Regal 2

Members pay $8 for Regal ePremiere tickets purchased online. Conditions apply.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Advertisement