MOVIE OF THE WEEK: Burlesque

Sequins, glitter, thongs. We all know that burlesque lounges are fun and hot as hell, but Burlesque, starring Christina Aguilera and Cher, defies that type of entertainment and brings it to new heights.

Burlesque tells the story of Ali (Aguilera), a young girl with a powerhouse voice who decides to move from Iowa to Los Angeles to pursue her dreams. Looking for a job, she finds herself in front of an old burlesque lounge, and, enchanted by it, she applies a waitress. Tess (Cher), the owner of the lounge, soon discovers her musical prowess and decides to put her onstage. And from there, the story carries on.

I was surprised by Christina’s performance as Ali. Her portrayal of the character was a fusion of an innocent girl, a playful lover and a dynamic performer. Christina showcased Ali’s determination, purity and drive perfectly without losing her own sexy personality in her musical performances. Was it realistic? Well, not so much. Ali’s character varies so much when she is onstage and when she’s off. Her innocence vanishes when she’s belting out, and her friskiness disappears when she is just Ali. But, was it entertaining? A big, huge, definite yes.

Oh, and the way Christina sings the musical numbers is just brilliant. After the release of her not-so-famous, Lady Gaga-prototyped 2010 album “Bionic,” the singer seems to have lost the “oomf” people loved years ago. She must have been trapped in the hype of electronic music and annoying auto-tuning. I mean, I really love electronica, but it just doesn’t work for her. But in “Burlesque,” she seeks redemption. Her rendition of Etta James’ “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” is pure and powerful. And it is so “Christina.” She needs to start doing more songs like this and stop looking at other artists for reference, because her voice is undeniably special as it is.

I also love how Christina performs most of the songs using a timber of her voice that I have never heard before. In this movie, she uses a lot of falsettos instead of belting it out strongly using her trademark thick voice. Well, she still hints that thick voice in some of the songs, like in the ballad “Bound to You,” but she does not overdo it. I think she tries to maintain Ali’s sweet personality in her performances using her falsettos, but she just could not. And for me, it is a very good thing that Christina’s persona tries to leak from her portrayal of Ali for it proves her dominance as a singer and her versatility as an artist. I mean, after Burlesque, what else can she not do? Sing the national anthem?

"My Mama never did my makeup..."

I kid! Christina is wonderful, and Cher in the movie is just as. Well, I think Cher has always been amazing – look at her Grammy and Oscar statuettes – but she is different in this musical. Usually, she dominates a flick with the savvy depiction of her roles, and considering that Burlesque is a musical, she must have exuded a heavier degree of superiority. Yet here, Cher is in equilibrium, as if she embraced her role as a supporting actress whole-heartedly and stepped down for Christina. I can imagine her saying, “This about her, not me,” and I applaud her for that.

But still, she did not fail to impress. She only had two songs in the movie, and they are both very exceptional. In “Welcome to Burlesque,” Cher shows her daring side. She performs alongside scantily-dressed younger female dancers, but she blends in and even stands out. Her other performance, “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me,” is one of the most special songs I have heard in my entire life. Her pain and strength coexist flawlessly in her voice. She does it so realistically that everybody can easily relate to this masterpiece. I loved it so much that I downloaded it immediately from iTunes once I got home from the theater.

Christina and Cher’s mentor-protégé act and musical abilities give color to an otherwise bland storyline. Burlesque received some – maybe, a lot of – panning from critics who calls the plot clichéd and somewhat overused. But who cares? This may not be one of those films that use a dramatic depiction of the Nazi war to contend for an Oscar, but it is simply pure fun. I mean, not all films should be solemn to be intricately-crafted. Also, I dare you to see Burlesque and finish it without feeling good. Burlesque is a light-hearted film that would give you a seriously great time, so stop listening to the critics and get the DVD.

And besides, Cher’s “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me” won a Golden Globe for Best Song. I’m just saying…

How about you guys? What do you think about Burlesque? Tell me in the comments section below.

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One Response to “MOVIE OF THE WEEK: Burlesque”
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