Movie Review: Burlesque.

 

“Did you notice the mistake in that movie?” my friend Sallie asked me as we left the cinema.

“The only mistake in that movie was Christina Aguilera’s acting,” I replied.

I went into Burlesque expecting three things: acting so bad it hurt, quality musical numbers and Aguilera’s ’90s strawberry blonde ’do to be cut off once her character made the big time. Well, two out of three ain’t bad. (For those of you who haven’t yet seen the film, the latter point is the one that remains.)

The movie starts out with country Christina (Ali) quitting her job in a bar on a whim, and moving to the big smoke. She notices a burlesque bar one night on a walk through the city; “the best view on the Sunset Strip without any windows”. After seeing the girls perform a number, with Cher at the helm as club owner Tess, Ali begs Tess for a job onstage, but settles for working under bartender Jack (literally; but as if we couldn’t see that coming!) as a waitress.

When the alcoholic star of the show, Nikki, played by Kristen Bell, fails to turn up, Ali takes her place. Nikki is so incensed that she interferes with the music for the set, forcing Ali to use her spectacular voice—which previously no one had heard—to save the performance. Tess then begins to build her burlesque show around Ali.

This is where the film starts to get bearable, as we see more of Christina Aguilera in all her ’40s pin-up/voice-that-brings-down-the-house glory, and less of mousy, weak, annoying Ali.

There are some pretty good musical numbers in the film (a 2011 Golden Globe for Best Original Song doesn’t lie), my favourites being a dance-off between Nikki and Juliannne Hough to “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” and one of the only legitimate “burlesque” performances in the film, “Guy What Takes His Time”, where pearls and feather fans are used as props.

Really, though, the only things that saved this movie were Christina’s performances, Eric Dane’s face, Stanley Tucci in general, and Cam Gigandet’s cookie box scene. Google it.

Madonna (and Her Brand of “Feminism”) on the Rocks.

 

From “The Revival of Feminism: Cher VS. Madonna” by Ginger Glynn:

“Madonna seemed to market toward, and target young girls, tweeners, prepubescent girls. So many ate it up and asked for more. The new feminism. The pretty girls feminism. Where do these sexy, sexualized young girls utilize this inspiration? How do they use their purchased, packaged sexuality for power? Britney Spears was mentored by and followed Madonna, the not quite so innocent tease. Oops, we did it again, we targeted young girls and taught them that being attractive is all we have to offer, that being intelligent is not feminine. We are supposed to believe Britney was able to use her sex appeal intelligently. She sold it, gained millions and with that, power? She got married, divorced and married again. She divorced again. Partied every night and shaved off her hair. Oh, and her ex-husband got the kids. All that sexuality and feminism, so little power. But wait, she grew back her hair, she lost weight, she may or may not have found her panties and for this we may love her again. We continue to give our daughters the financial means to support and emulate these images and models.”

Elsewhere: [More] The Revival of Feminism: Cher VS. Madonna.