You've seen it all before, Coyote Ugly dabbled with it, Chicago perfected it and Nine failed at it, now Burlesque exploits the genre with cliches and over-the-top spectacle in yet another girl-moves-to-the-big-city-to-become-a-star movie.

My friend Tshepo raved about Burlesque the other day. See, he is a dancer so when he told me how entertaining the movie is naturally figured he was talking from a dancing point of view. 

Surprisingly, and my friend will be the first to admit that he is not into over analysing plots, he mentioned to me that he felt the story was not strong enough. 

With that I eventually saw Burlesque and though he and I disagree on A LOT OF THINGS, I have to agree with him on this one.

The Plot

Christina Aguilers plays Ali Rose a young, struggling girl who works in a bar in a small town in Iowa. Her boss doesn't paid her for two months, she quits and takes what he owes her from the till and decides to leave for Los Angeles to pursue her dream of singing (very Coyote Ugly meets Devil Wears Prada-ish).

After a fruitless day of searching for jobs in her new home, she winds up at a burlesque bar and becomes enthralled with the whole concept. She tries to persuade Tess (played by Cher who hasn't aged a bit) to let her go on stage but Tess won't hear her out.

Ali meets the friendly bartender Jack (Cam Gigandet from Twilight fame) who then gives her a gig as a waitress She tries everything to get a chance to perform on stage. Her desperation and pushy antics finally pays off and she is given a chance when one of the other girls falls pregnant.

But it's Ali's powerful singing voice that takes her from chorus girl to center stage while her nemisis Nicky looses her spot as the leading lady and quits... you know what they say about a woman scorned.

What I loved About The Movie

Sequins, boobs, a sassy gay man, Cher and Christina Aguilera... hello, how could you possibly go wrong about that concoction in a musical? This movie is a perfect escape for 90 minutes out of your life. You will be mesmerized by the dance moves, enthralled by the costumes and on occasion be moved by the music.

The music if awesome. Aguilera steals the scenes and monopolizes the soundtrack with some ayobaness after ayobaness after ayobaness... with her singing i.e. We all know Miss X-tina has a voice but you will be surprised to see her conjure that magic that made people like Aretha Franklin and her co-star Cher the stars that they are today.

Kristin Bell, who is fast becoming one of my favourite young actresses is tantalizingly devilish as Nicky, it's delicious. Having just seen her in You Againas a sweet blonde, it was refreshing to see her getting all devilish on this movie. 

The director focuses so much on Christina's character that I feel sad that we were cheated out of what Kristin could have delivered – Think Mila Kunis as the bad girl in Black Swan. We all love baddies and Kristin played it off well.

What I Didn't Like About It

Unlike recent musicals that have gained critical acclaim like Dreamgirls, Burlesque offers nothing more than just visual spectacles and some good musical numbers. At some points even that good part of the movie borders on being a Chicago imitation. 

Simply put, the story is weak, pretty standard and entirely predictable thus sadly leaving nothing else but the music and dancing to save what could easily be a dull 90 minutes in a cinema.

If you have seen any of Christina's concert in recent years you will definitely feel like you watching one long Christina Aguilera music video. She dazzles in this movie simply because there is nothing else that does. 

Her acting is not bad, I have seen worse – think Britney in Crossroads or Mariah in Glitter. Sadly like many musicians-cum-actresses before her she fares well with her powerful voice and all-encompassing stage presence rather than her acting.

Then there is Stanley Tucci playing Sean, you basically see Nigel from The Devil Wears Prada every time he comes on screen. On occasion that he tries not to be too Nigel he becomes suspiciously husband, Paul, from Julie and Julia (a movie he co-starred in with Meryl Streep post DWP). Tucci is a good actor but this type casting is fast relegating him to a B-rate status.


This movie is a definite guilty pleasure. It is somewhat so bad that it's actually good. You wanna hate it but some moments in it are just too sweet and beautiful to just dismiss as a waste of money and time. 

Bottomline; This is a must see movie, if only to have something to talk about with your friends after seeing it. After a dismal year for Miss Xtina, it's great to see her shine. Just another excuse to watch it.

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