Christopher Whalen

It seems that if you are a famous singer, you should also star in a movie where you play a singer. It is obvious that these singers really want to flex their acting muscles. Clearly when Beyonce played the lead singer of a girl group in Dreamgirls, Mariah Carey played a young woman who makes it to superstardom in Glitter, and Whitney Houston played an international superstar with an immaculate voice in The Bodyguard, they were all playing characters that really went outside of the box for them. Naturally when Christina Aguilera decided to take on her first acting role, she chose to experiment and play a sexy stage performer with “mutant lungs” in Burlesque.

Aguilera plays a small town girl named Ali itching to get out of her mundane life. She decides to head to Los Angeles to make it big. When Ali runs into Cher’s character, Tess, the movie runs into the first of many small conflicts that are over before they begin. It takes a while into the movie to figure out why Christina’s character exists. However, ultimately she becomes the most crucial to the movie’s most critical conflict.

The music and dance numbers are the driving force and the saving grace of this movie. The audience expects bombastic vocals from Ms. Aguilera, and she delivers. When Aguilera decides it is time to let her voice be heard with her rendition of Etta James’ “Tough Lover,” you can feel an intense sense of “awe” in the movie and the audience. The numbers are risky and sensual the way a burlesque number should be. When Aguilera is on stage, her character Ali transforms into a much more interesting and captivating person. There is however a moment of complete cheesiness when Cher performs an original ballad “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me,” but it manages to only briefly slow down the movie. The most jaw dropping vocal moments are during the performances for “Bound to You” and “Show Me How You Burlesque.”

Burlesque is not a movie to brag about its originality. The movie takes its influences from Showgirls, Coyote Ugly, and Dreamgirls. At times you could swear you’re watching a scene from a different movie, and then you realize you are indeed watching Burlesque. In the , it comes down to the acting. It is clear that Oscar winning Cher can act. The big question is whether Aguilera can act. While she won’t be writing an acceptance speech for her Oscar anytime soon, Aguilera does manage to convince the audience that she is the lovable Ali.

Overall, Burlesque is a fun, campy, and quirky movie that will keep your eyes on the screen and your feet tapping. However, if you’re looking for a movie to enlighten you, this isn’t it. But if you are looking for a movie to have a good time and walk away singing a tune, Burlesque is your movie.