Finally, the guilty pleasure event of the year has arrived in Burlesque. Glitter and Showgirls are shaking in their butterfly tattoos. Highly dangerous drinking games will soon be spawned. Theme parties will eventually be thrown for the DVD release. Aspiring sluts you know will dress up as these characters for Halloweens to come. It is, to put it mildly, a major pop cultural deal. Or maybe not! Who knows if anybody will even see it? It could be the Snakes on a Plane of whore movies -- bloggers obsess over it, but nobody else in their right mind gives a hell about it. All I know is that I saw it, and it melted my face off with an atomic blast of Tucci-scented Lucite. So let's discuss all the ways in which this movie does not disappoint.
The most consistently impressive quality Burlesque possesses is its unyielding self-awareness. It knows we're here for camp, slutty outfits, dance sequences and to watch Cher's synthetic excuse for a face war with itself to express emotions, and minute-for-minute, that's exactly what it delivers. For example, Christina Aguilera's character goes from being fed up in her small town somewhere to working in Cher's L.A. club with strippers doing gymnastics around her within the first 10 minutes of the movie. There's no time wasted anywhere, and though the movie is a little longer than I expected (it's about two hours long), that's only for the sake of more scenes involving Stanley Tucci making cracks about Kristen Bell drunkenly gyrating to the classics in a body stocking and a wig. So, it's two hours, but it's two hours of sheer entertainment!
This movie does warrant all the comparisons to Glitter, Showgirls and Crossroads before it, but the difference is that those movies, as wonderfully lovable as they are, took themselves incredibly seriously. They were earnest attempts to get the women in them taken seriously as actors, and the results were laughable. Burlesque is gleefully light-hearted and self-deprecating, without being cloyingly meta or eyeroll-inducing. When you laugh at Burlesque, you're laughing with it. Those other movies? Quite the opposite is the case.
I've been describing it to friends as Showgirls, minus all the brutal rape and period humor. It's like if Showgirls took a mega dose of antibiotics, entered into a witness protection relocation program, met Julianne Hough (who is somehow adorable in this movie) and took a crapload of dance lessons. It's just so great. Earlier this week I was joking that Burlesque might be so good it could possibly kill me, and while that was just a joke at the time, there was one moment where Cher attacked Kristen Bell's car with a crowbar and it was so awesome I experienced a little bit of heart failure, but luckily I gathered my wits and recovered in time for the pivotal "everyone's-jealous-of-Xtina's-sequin-feather-shoes" scene that followed it.
Oh, and Alan Cumming has a spectacular series of little cameos as basically the Emcee from Cabaret, and Christina Aguilera didn't even annoy me one bit -- in fact, I'd actually describe her as endearing and well-cast in the role. I mean this movie is just an anomaly on every level. You simply have to see it.
Leave your thoughts on Burlesque in the comments, and then see our list of the most failtastic singer-turned-actor movies!
In light of the fall of the Pussycat Dolls and the rise of the Kardashians, is Burlesque still relevant? See what our movie vloggers have to say:
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