Burlesque is the story of a young girl who leaves a small Iowa town to become a star in Los Angeles. She steps off the bus with an impeccable voice (and perfect breast implants). But no one notices the voice part because the first thing she does in LA is meet Cher and Stanley Tucci and decide to become a burlesque dancer in their club, aptly named Burlesque. She’s not so good at this, but she makes up her lack of dance moves with really good wigs and creative butt slapping.
Somewhere along the lines, her fairy godfather Bob Fosse shows up to turn the whole place into a Chicago remake. Also, all of the males in this world are gay. Or wear guyliner. Los Angeles is a confusing place, ok guys?
The Chick Flick Check List is here to help you navigate the difficult terrain of films aimed toward woman. These movies may not be Oscar caliber material, but when you’re in need of shoe porn or pretty faces, they can be just the trick. Follow our guidelines to decide whether this week’s film is worth watching.
Burlesque’s Check List Ranking: 45*
Likability of the lead: 4/10
Christina Aguilera might have a great voice, but she is not a likable actress. Add to that the fact that her character is almost completely devoid of personality and you’ve got a pretty tough sell. Her relentless striving to be a star is supposed to be evidence of character. But she’s like a little Tracy Flick desperate to become a Burlesque star at all costs. How you feel about that depends on your feeelings about Tracy Flick in a corset.
The plot of Burlesque revolves around Ali’s amazing vocals resurrecting Cher’s nightclub Burlesque. How does she do this? By convincing Cher that live singing is better than girls dancing to lip synched vocals. But then Christina lipsynchs to her own vocals, while she stands mostly still and everyone dances around her. Utlimately, making it a lounge act and not a Burlesque club really. That’s a bit…odd.
Chemistry Between The Leads: 4/10
Cam Gigandet is plenty hot as Jack the bartender. But Ali thinks he’s gay for most of the movie. Which is rather confusing. Once that gets sorted, it turns out he has a fiancee. Also, his addiction to guy liner is almost fatal. When the two finally get together, the writers actually put together a cheeky, fun flirtation for them. (It involves Cam naked and a box of Famous Amos). But then they ruin it by having him put on jeans with a Xtina singing montage over their makeout time. Lame! Also, Dr. McSteamy (Eric Dane) from Grey’s Anatomy shows up for awhile as a competing love interest, but they don’t even get it on. What’s the point of that, producer smartypants? He didn’t even take his shirt off. Way to waste your casting money, Burlesque!
Chance of wringing tears out of viewers: 3/10
Is Cher happy or sad? I can’t tell!
If Cher spent less money on costumes and sets at the club, maybe she would have less money trouble. That said, the costumes are amazing. Sparkling sequins, pearl bikinis and feathered corsets mean lingerie fetishists will be plenty happy.
Plot Believability: 4/10
Hmn. Christina Aguilera plays a waitress from a small town in Iowa. For that to be true, she must have a very friendly relationship with the local plastic surgeon. She gets off the bus in Los Angeles with breast implants, hair extensions and perfect makeup intact. She’d have to act pretty hard to be believable as a small town local. (Note: Xtina does not act very hard.)
Supporting Cast: 7/10
Stanley Tucci is the best. Except sometimes he’s supposed to be straight. And that is weird. It’s nice to see Cher again. And also, Alan Cumming! Except he’s more like a gay show pony than put to any real use. Though his one moment onstage with two girls and a banana is as close to real burlesque as this movie gets. Also, Peter Gallagher’s eyebrows have a cameo as Cher’s ex husband and Kristen Bell inexplicably plays a competing dancer, who is completely random and useless. However, Kristen Bell is surprisingly good at dancing.
Food/Real Estate Porn: 5/10
There is no food in Burlesque! But I’m awarding points here for the staging of the dance scenes. Someone channeled Bob Fosse from the grave for this one. It’s not quite what Burlesque is supposed to look like, but it’s pretty.
Male Eye Candy: 7/10
Cam Gigadnet is so cute. But also it’s hard to wade through all that guyliner. However, he is nearly completely nude for a good few minutes. If you can wait til the tail end of the movie for that.
Children, pets and other scene stealers: 0/10
There are no scene stealers in this movie. Because it is all about Xtina! She can be the only one that steals scenes. Also, we’re waiting for the sequel, when some young ingenue Britney type comes along to compete with Christina and she cuts a bitch. Xtina would do way better in an All About Eve knockoff than this Crossroads meets Chicago business.
Our Check List ranks movies based on ten different criteria that are each worth a total of 10 points. The scale tops out at 100. To give you a reference, a classic like Breakfast at Tiffany’s might rank at 97. Check specific categories for your main interest.
*Movies that score below 50 on the Check List hold a special place in our hearts. And are best seen in groups. While drunk.