Pop diva Christina Augilera makes her big screen debut with Burlesque, a script that seems tailored-made for her. She plays Ali, a small-town waitress who pursues her big dreams by heading to Los Angeles, where she stumbles upon Burlesque, a nightclub run by Tess (Cher).
Very much like a fairy tale, Ali (short for Alice) graduates from waiting tables to become the club’s shining star in double quick time, belting out numbers that the real life Christina Aguilera performs on the biggest, shiniest stages around the world. As a bonus, she finds motherly love from Tess, sisterly love among her fellow performers, gets involved in a love-tussle with two handsome hunks -- and of course saves the club from financial doom.
What a rags to riches story needs to make it special is a suite of song and dance sequences. Director Steve Antin, the one-time boyfriend of David Geffen of SKG Dreamworks fame, seems too restrained to bring on the razzle-dazzle. The stage at Burlesque should really come alive with electricity, considering the flick is spearheaded by two mega divas. But how can sparks fly when every other musical number seems to end right before its emotional peak?
This is a team that is capable of delivering and on occasion, they did deliver a rare emotional moment to bring down the house. Of course, we’re speaking of Cher’s showpiece, “You Haven't Seen the Last of Me". Missing in action from film for more than a decade, Cher’s return to the screen underscores the years we’ve been deprived of her talent and stage presence.
Perhaps the surprise package of the movie is that newbie Christina Augilera does not fare badly at all. Among the pop-stars-to-big-screen matrix, her debut performance pegs her with Whitney Houston (The Bodyguard), streets ahead of Mariah Carey (Glitter) and fellow Mickey Mouse Club alumni, Ms Bite-me Spears (Crossroads).
Your admission to Burlesque Club includes a striptease scene by Cam Gigandet that might be unsuitable for the (un)intended PG crowd. In the end, we find the movie entertaining in parts and ponder upon how Burlesque misses the mark to be a camp classic.