January 29, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 38°F


Relentless singer owns spotlight

In “Burlesque,” director Steve Antin revamps the typical plot of small-town, blonde sweetheart turned big-city star to a flashy and heart-warming story of persistence and romance.

Christina Aguilera plays Ali, a waitress in her 20s, who stops bussing tables in Iowa to become a star in Los Angeles. Ali finds herself in Burlesque, a club on Sunset Strip where she demands a place on stage to fulfill her childhood dreams. Club owner and past Burlesque star Tess (Cher) and her sidekick, Sean (Stanley Tucci), doubt she has what it takes. This changes after a serendipitous mishap reveals what she has really been hiding — her voice. This newfound talent faces dire straights when savvy entrepreneur Marcus (Eric Dane) threatens to steal both the lounge and Ali’s heart.

While her stellar stage performance makes “Burlesque” a highly recommended film,
Aguilera’s acting leaves viewers wanting more. The movie focuses heavily on Aguilera, and her cookie-cutter story is a bit unconvincing in its predictable simplicity. Those expecting to be carried through the first few scenes will most likely be disappointed by the slow start. However, if viewers can trudge through the start, the fishnet-filled climax is sure to satisfy. While beginning with dancing beauties lip-syncing to old hits, the scene moves to Aguilera’s charisma and playful stage performance. Her sensual sound and the energized music makes “Burlesque” worth watching.

Reminiscent of “Coyote Ugly,” the film creates a dynamic relationship between its stars with the maternal bond formed between Tess and Ali. Cher stuns the audience with her bold and charismatic acting along with her sexy and fun right-hand man, the charming Tucci. Moving from a man preaching the value of true love — yet unable to remember the name of his last night’s lover — to one who’s ready to take his own advice, Tucci builds his character throughout the film.

Despite a slow beginning, actor gone screen-writer Steve Antin manages to create a grand ending that leaves his audience wanting more. “Burlesque” certainly does not shy away from the sexual, but rather presents itself in a tasteful portrayal of the talent and passion underneath the costumes and corsets.

“Burlesque” was both written and directed by Steve Antin.