Alice, hm? Well, welcome to Wonderland.
At the start of writer/director Steve Antin’s Burlesque, Christina Aguilera’s Ali quits her job in small-Town USA to make it as a singer/dancer in Los Angeles. From there on the film unfolds like like it’s been set on auto-pilot.
Aguilera is lively but she’s playing a character we’ve encountered many times before that in order to stand out her performance has to be far more affecting than the typical character she plays. The amount of storylines the film crams in along with the musical numbers produces a film that’s stuffed with storylines and characters that have little impact save for always excellent Stanley Tucci.
The film could do with trimming its edges; Cher – who seemingly has made a pact with the Devil and cannot age – has a musical performance that ought to have been excised. Kristen Bell’s bitchy character is an afterthought, serving up a performance that struggles to break through the film’s blandness. The musical numbers are a little forgettable, only the last song loiters in the mind because it’s the last song and delivered with real bombast.
Otherwise Burlesque is a highly unoriginal and formulaic film that’s fitfully entertains.