The Burlesque Lounge has its best days behind it. Tess, a retired dancer and owner of the venue, struggles to keep the aging theater alive, facing all kinds of financial and artistic challenges. With the Lounge's troupe members becoming increasingly distracted by personal problems and a threat coming from a wealthy businessman's quest to buy the spot from Tess, the good fortune seems to have abandoned the club altogether. Meanwhile, the life of Ali, a small-town girl from Iowa, is about to change dramatically. Hired by Tess as a waitress at the Lounge, Ali escapes a hollow past and quickly falls in love with the art of burlesque. Backed by new found friends amongst the theater's crew, she manages to fulfill her dreams of being on stage herself. Things take a dramatic turn though when Ali's big voice makes her become the main attraction of the revue.
Release Date: 26 November 2010
Burlesque is one of those movies that makes me really question what's going on out there in Hollywood. In the past I've always defended the Hollywood system in reviews and during the moderations at the WILDsound events. Most people who run in our circles and go to this website are against anything Hollywood does. I keep hearing over and over again from people how bad the movies have been in recent years that have come from the studio system. And I am the one who always says it's not that bad and there's a lot of original content coming out of the mainstream movie world. Especially the style and creativity on the directing side of the camera as in recent months I have seen a lot of really imaginative ways to tell a story. They have the money so they are able to really create inside of this system more than any other.
But then a movie like Burlesque comes along. This is the type of film that Hollywood should be making in terms of female driven stories and characters. There just isn't enough of them. But what's with this screenplay? Could it have been more cookie cutter and cliche driven than this?
Unfortunately there is not one surprise in Burlesque as you get EXACTLY what you think you will get. The following is a journey of rags to riches that we've seen in a million other films in the past:
- Small town girl moves to big city to follow her dream.
- She's alone and a bit scared but she's a firecracker and not afraid to take chances and encounter higher ups to make her dreams happen.
- Along her travels she finds a surrogate family who helps her. A surrogate mom. A surrogate dad. A surrogate sister(s). And a surrogate brother that you think is gay so she isn't attracted too at the beginning. Until...
- Inside of that family she falls for a guy. And they will continue to do the "old Hollywood foreplay thing" until the last scene.
- Girl then gets her chance to show her talents and of course she is extremely talented. A one in a million talent actually.
- Of course we never see her work on her talent as she is just magically gifted with a singing voice for the ages. Like Peyton Manning just jumps off the couch and throws touchdown passes. Or Marlon Brando just jumped on stage and became an amazing actor. That's how is works! (See the story of the Beattles and you'll realize that it takes about 8 years, 15,000 hours of constant hard work, good management, and a little luck to be a rags to riches success. But in Hollywood that's too boring for people to experience. Of course in my world that's really the interesting part.)
- Girl has conflict with other girl who she's upstaging.
- Surrogate family has financial troubles that girl can help with because she's all of a sudden very talented and in demand.
- Throw away scene that doesn't seem important in the 2nd act all of a sudden become the most important scene in movie and is the answer to all the troubles that are happening financially.
- Girl tempts leaving surrogate family for more fame and glory. Has inner story conflict.
- At the end girl does right thing, gets the right guy, and of course helps the surrogate family with the financial troubles and all is good in the end.
And that's the story of Burlesque. Of course I'm a jerk for giving away the entire plot, but my rationalization is that you're going to know what's going to happen in the first 5 minute of the movie anyway. It's that predictable!
I was very hesitant when finding out that Aguilera was going to star and attempt to carry a feature film on her shoulders because I worked on a little/big film called GLITTER in 2000 at a PA (production assistant).
Does anyone remember GLITTER? Of course you don't as it was one of the biggest bombs of 2001. But not considered a magnificent bomb like Heaven's Gate or Ishtar because they didn't spend that much money on it. It did spend a fair slice of chance but they never went overbudget, like the two mentioned movies, and actually delivered the film on time and under budget. GLITTER in my production assistant days was the best film I ever worked on. The crew and cast all had a great time as the energy was always high, the shooting schedule and production layout was very organized, and for myself personally, as a young single man working on a film with a lot of half naked women always on set.... let's just say I had a lot of fun after each day wrapped as well.
But Mariah Carey, who seemed very scared and perhaps was self medicating a bit, was the star of the movie. A singer who never been on a movie set before, much less acted. She was so green she actually bought a barbeque and brought it on set the first day of filming and thought that they could cook hamburgers while making a film. You knew right then that this film was in trouble no matter how talented the director or her co-stars were, and/or how good the script was.
Not the greatest of choices the studio system has made in recent years. And I thought Burlesque was going to be a GLITTER 2 in the making.
Christina Aguilera is defintely not Mariah Carey. The only thing Burlesque has done is show that she can carry a movie. Next time let's hope the studio people actually give her a story and script that's unique.