17 January 2011 | ptb-8
All That Fosse
BURLESQUE sets itself up for some fairly blunt 2011 criticism for it's lame storyline but if one knows their films of the 30s to the 70s, you can see they type of nightclub musical it wants to be. If BURLESUE was made in the 30s it would be a Warner bros Vitaphone musical like 42nd STREET or FOOTLIGHT PARADE. Christina Aguelira would be played by Joan Blondell who she actually resembles. Cam Gigandet would be James Cagney. Cher vs Mae West. Hop into the 40s and we might have Rita Hayworth as Cher, Berry Grable as Christina, and called COVER GIRL or PIN UP GIRL, or if you prefer staying in a cheaper locale THE SWING PARADE OF 1946, Monogram's big nightclub musical mess starring Gale Storm and performers in a finale who did not appear anywhere else in the whole film. In the 50s, well just have a look at either PAL JOEY or THE GIRL CAN'T HELP IT. The opening 5 minutes of BURLESQUE resembles the 1965 Elvis credit sequence on a bus in TICKLE ME. BURLESQUE really really wants to be all of the fabulous nightclub scenes from SWEET CHARITY... the scenes where Charity meets Vittorio and sees the RICH MAN'S FRUG dance numbers with awesome Barrie Chase and her 10' legs and whopper hair. Now that we are in Fossey territory, add some CABARET (in fact, a lot of CABARET), mix in MOULIN ROUGE and plenty of CHICAGO and Columbia's B grade subsidiary Screen Gems give us a new B grade nightclub musical with all the above elements called BURLESQUE. This film just wants to be some of all those above. Hell it is far better than NINE and miles ahead of RENT, which for me is just fine. I actually think the 'lets save the nightclub' storyline is a wink to other cliché musicals and knows it. (Boogaloo, anyone?) What is good about BURLESQUE is the hilarious script which has some terrific lines, the excellent rapport between the three leads Cher, C.A and Stanley Tucci... and of course cute Cam as the Paul Newman type love interest. His 'box of cookies' nude scene adds some well timed zing. The dance numbers are thoroughly enjoyable albeit badly edited and filmed too close, like most of the film. The songs good and the costumes offer the old razzle dazzle as well they could and actually do. BURLESQUE knows it is silly and has a great time with it... hey just like an actual BURLESQUE show. Just enjoy. it's not difficult. BURLESQUE might even get Barbra Striesand out of the house to make a new musical given she would see it as her husband James Brolin has a cameo and Cher is her same age: 66. Also finally Cher might get the cash to make the Mae West musical for which she is now ideal. BURLESQUE would make a terrific double feature with Columbia's own 1948 cheapie LADIES OF THE CHORUS starring Marilyn Monroe in the Christina part.