Review: Burlesque or Bore-lesque?

Albert Columbo

The highly anticipated music and dancing extravaganza that is the movie “Burlesque” falls short of its potential and leaves Christina Aguilera fans underwhelmed. Cher fans, however, can be proud of yet another stellar performance by the diva, who outshines her junior co-star without even trying.

What doesn’t work in this movie is its dull and uninteresting story. From the get-go, with Christina’s character quitting her job in a small Iowa diner and getting out from under the thumb of a bad boss to pursue a life in Los Angeles – honestly, it is unbelievable.

Aguilera can act, but the writing left her hanging and also made her character unlikeable. So if the movie starts off with the audience not really liking the star, it can only go downhill.

But then there’s Cher, who plays the owner of a burlesque show in financial trouble. Though the plot is predictable, she delivers a believable character – even though that character is Cher.

The love interest between Aguilera and the bartender at the club is titillating and predictable, as well; it’s obvious they’ll end up together. His nude scene, Cher’s different wigs and the dancers’ costumes are the best parts of “Burlesque.”

The movie has few surprises, but Cher fans will be compelled to watch to see what she does next. Other strengths are the pretty, dancing girls dolled-up in Oscar-worthy costumes, and the new, original songs, which are also potential award-winners.

Some elements of “Burlesque” mirror the Academy Award winning “Cabaret,” but not enough, while moments that will remind viewers of screen gems “Showgirls” and “All About Eve” add an unsavory cheese factor that brings “Burlesque” down.

The gay element, with Cher’s sidekick stage manager having a superfluous, one-night stand with a potential boyfriend, seemed unnecessary to the plot.

“Burlesque” is a Cher movie filled with pretty and glamorous elements that work well separately but not together. Perhaps with some reworking, shortening and tweaking, the film could have been a blockbuster of “Dreamgirls” caliber.

“Bore-lesque” at least shows us that Cher’s still got “it.” Now that her run at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas is ending, perhaps she’ll star in more movies.