De Line Pictures, 2010
By Zoee Silber
The Thanksgiving release of Burlesque was not only Christina Aguilera’s debut as an actress, but it also marked Cher’s triumphant return to the big screen since her unfortunate association with 2003’s Stuck on You. Since the movie’s trailer release in August, fans have anxiously waited to see if the star-studded film would be sparkly and fantastic or a disastrous result of dueling divas.
The opening scene features Ali (Aguilera) belting out an Etta James classic, “Something’s Got a Hold on Me,” in a rundown restaurant residing in one of our country’s many flyover states. After the initial shock of seeing the normally makeup-soaked actress with clean skin and no shoes, audiences are reminded as to why the star was cast to begin with. Her outstanding performance leaves you wondering why she was even allowed to release her latest album, Bionic.
In true movie fashion, Ali leaves her small town for the glitz and glam of Hollywood only to find that Los Angeles is no place for a Midwestern girl with no money. During her defeated late night stroll after her failed job search, Ali stumbles upon Burlesque. Club owner Tess (Cher) gives an eerie and uncomfortable performance to welcome the audience into her show, while Ali watches in sheer amazement. Cam Gigandet, Julianne Hough, Kristen Bell, Alan Cumming, Stanley Tucci and Eric Dane are all introduced within the next 30 minutes, which lets viewers know (if they didn’t already) that this will be one helluva production.
After arguing with Tess about a job, Ali predictably proves herself with a dance routine that pushes Jackie (Bell) out of the show. At this point the movie begins to pick up speed and introduces the inevitable connection between Jack (Gigandet) and Ali, as well as the financial troubles of Burlesque, and the awkwardly sweaty Peter Gallagher we used to love as Sandy Cohen from The O.C., who is now Tess’ ex-husband, Vince.
Although I am, as some would say, a crazy Christina fan, I was skeptical about her acting skills. But I have to say, she did a surprisingly good job playing Ali. Cher’s performance was decent but creepy, and I couldn’t help but watch with fascination, as the 64 year old’s face did not budge, even when crying. Ultimately, I was pleased with the outcome of Burlesque, but left the theater covered in glitter, with the strange craving to do something not so girly.