A small-town girl from Iowa wants to make it big Hollywood. How many times have you heard this plot before? In the case of Burlesque, the girl is Christina Aguilera, and it is like watching this story line for the very first time.
Aguilera plays Ali, who leaves her waitressing job in Iowa to become what she has always dreamed of becoming - a dancer. Upon arriving in Hollywood, she pounds the pavement looking for work, and eventually walks into a burlesque theatre and instantly wants to be on that stage. She volunteers to become a waitress after the proprietress (a subdued Cher) brushes her off, and then she is front row and center to see the dancers strut their stuff. Eventually she gets the opportunity to audition and wows Cher and the club’s entertainment director, played by Stanley Tucci. Of course she blows them away. Would you expect any different?
Ali is hired as a dancer and it is at this point that Burlesque takes off. Christina Aguilera sings and dances in various skimpy costumes, and you can’t take your eyes off her. She is in almost every scene in the movie, and the movie is hers alone. Even in scenes with Cher, Aguilera matches and even surpasses Cher the actress. Who knew Christina would be this good? Sure, she stars in music videos, but to carry a two-hour movie and steal it away from the icon that is known as Cher? Once Ali takes the stage, the other girls don’t stand a chance. Add to this a romance with the bartender and the threat of Cher losing the club to the bank, and what you have is a drama within a musical.
It's Cher's first screen role in seven years, and she is very good as the owner of the club, juggling the responsibilities that come with being in charge and also being a mother–like figure to the girls. She does have one solo number in the film - included to prove that Cher has still got it (and she does) - though she plays second fiddle to Aguilera. Tucci is very good as well, and he played a similar character in The Devil Wears Prada. Bartender/love interest, Cam Gigandet, is a good match with Aguilera in the looks department, and he CAN act. Where did HE come from? Eric Dane, as the developer who wants to buy Cher’s club, is another bonus in the good-looking category as well.
Add to that a great soundtrack, amazing lighting, and scenes that don’t look staged, and what you have is a film almost as good as Chicago - and much better then last year’s Nine. Burlesque is a must–see movie, and in Christina Aguilera, a movie star is born.