From the ads, this movie looked pretty fun. Christina Aguilera has a great voice, despite not always using it, and Cher is an American icon who has charmed us for over 2 centuries (close to it anyways), so mixing these two together in a "Chicago" inspired musical film seemed like it would be great fun. Unfortunately, in order to have a great film, you need great characters, an interesting plot, a clever script, and this movie has none of the above. It has a largely drama free plot, with boring one dimensional characters, and a script full of lame one liners. By the end, you just wonder, what was the point of all this?
Ali (Christina Aguilera) is a small town Iowa waitress who wants to become a star, so she moves out to L.A., without a place to stay or much money. She ends up finding this burlesque house full of saucy female dancers straight out of the 1920s, owned by Tess (Cher), a boss with a heart of gold. She pushes her way into becoming a waitress for the place, and eventually tries out for a role on stage, while meanwhile she's living with bartender Jack (Cam Gigandet). Then rich businessman Marcus (Eric Dane) tries to buy out the Burlesque house...GASP...will he be able to?
Writer/director Steve Antin's sole purpose for making this seems to be to homage Bob Fosse. Literally, there could be no other reason. Possibly as a way of meeting Christina Aguilera and Cher, but story wise, there is nothing here to tell. This movie has no point, and could have easily been condensed into a bland 30 minute short film. There's such little drama in the story, and nothing ever seems very serious. There's never a moment where you pity any characters, or feel bad for anyone, and there's never any moments where you feel particularly sad or happy for anyone. It's such a middling picture that it just moves along, doing nothing, and thus that's what you get from the picture...nothing.
The performances are okay. Christina Aguilera is...okay. She's not great, and not bad. Her character is kind of irritating, and hard to describe. She's kind of pushy, and assertive, but also bossy, lazy and obnoxious. Cher's character is even harder to describe because she is given so few traits. Tess just kind of goes with the flow, and tries to run things, but gets frustrated. That's about it. And sadly, these two are the most developed characters. The performances reflect the lack of depth in the script, and everyone is just kind of hollow. It's like a script full of extras. We never get to know or care about anyone.
Despite a not great script, and boring characters, at least we can get some great songs and stylistic direction, right? Well, inside the burlesque club, we get an atmospheric set with some alright songs and boringly shot dance numbers. But at least the club has it's own charm. But any set other than the club, is completely boring, and everything not featured there feels like a bad romantic comedy. And many scenes shot in there just waste time through songs that don't have any point. In "Chicago" or "All that Jazz" or "Cabaret", the songs in the film advance the plot, or tell us how a character feels, or set up some background information. Here, the songs do nothing but play as songs. They mean nothing to the film, and even less to the plot, and they are there to make this a "musical" and for padding. Like anything else, the songs have no purpose to the story.
In order to create a work that replicates the works of Bob Fosse and Kander/Ebbs, one must not scratch the surface and say "We need costumes, pretty girls, dance numbers and songs.", but instead one must listen to the lyrics and what they mean, and the wordplay, and watch how Fosse choreographed those routines, and in his films how he shot them. And of course, look at their plots, and how the songs have meaning to the plot, and how drama intensifies the film and makes the audience care. This movie is so bland, with boring characters and a plot that actually seems to give up on itself. You can't expect the musical numbers and costumes to run the show, but they do here. Quite a shame too. With all the talent involved this could have been great.
My rating: * 1/2 out of ****. 100 mins. PG-13 for sexy costumes (really a mild film).
2 out of 6 found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.