Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 12A
  • Musical, Romance
  • 2010

Burlesque

Burlesque

Synopsis

Ali (Christina Aguilera) is a just a small-town girl living in a lonely world, but she's determined to be a star. Could a burlesque club in the city prove her ticket to success? You better believe it.

About

There's a very simple way to tell whether you might enjoy Burlesque, if you'll bear with me a second. Maybe you've heard of the practice wherein a lady's special area is decorated with sequins or sparkly crystals of the Swarovski type? Well, now you have. Practitioners call it "vajazzle". Now, I would like you to say this word out loud. Vajazzle. If you managed that without cracking a grin, there's no way you should consider seeing Burlesque. If Moulin Rouge was frou-frou French knickers and Showgirls a labial piercing, Burlesque is vajazzle: coy, camp and far too laughable to be sexy.

Plotwise, we're talking your classic Bildungsroman: like Candide, David Copperfield or Pinocchio before her, Ali (Christina Aguilera) has led a sheltered existence but is poised on the brink of a profound voyage of self-discovery. Leaving Small Town USA with only a pocketful of dreams and a suitcase full of mad shoes, she is drawn like a manicured moth with massive hair extensions to the bright lights of The Big City (it doesn't matter which big city), where she meets a magical old woman who lives in an underground cave (Cher).

After some initial scepticism, this hard-nosed subterranean club owner with requisite heart of gold offers to help make all Ali's wide-eyed dreams of shaking her jelly on stage in her pants come true, and in one hilarious scene teaches little orphan Ali how to do the most flamboyant face-full of make-up since Heath Ledger's Joker. Maybe she's born with it, maybe she lost a fight with the Sony Bravia exploding paint advert.

Plot, schmot. All you need to know about Burlesque is that it may (does) contain the following: breathless backstage bitching, dance numbers that play out like a someone pressed fast-forward on a mash-up of all the titillating bits from all Bond movie credits sequences ever, enough outfits made of pearls to shoot oysters straight to the top of the endangered species list, Alan Cumming in guyliner, Cam Gigandet in guyliner, a faceless man-candy dance-troupe in guyliner, Stanley Tucci reprising his Devil Wears Prada male matriarch shtick, some silly plot-business about real estate permits (whatevs), Cher doing the most unintentionally funny "sad song" in musical history, plus the immortal line "I will not be upstaged by some slut with mutant lungs." Phew.

This is pure, grade A, 100% platinum trash and is, naturally, hugely delicious to anyone with even the most under-developed ability to enjoy frivolous camp. Yes, it bears absolutely no resemblance to the historical art of burlesque, but that's like complaining Jurassic Park didn't have enough palaeontology in it.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Kristen Bell, Cher, Stanley Tucci, Alan Cumming, Cam Gigandet, Christina Aguilera
  • Director: Steve Antin
  • Screen Writer: Steve Antin
  • Producer: Donald De Line
  • Photographer: Bojan Bazelli
  • Composer: Christophe Beck

In a nutshell

Enormously daft, but addictive. Like Richard Gere almost sang in Chicago, give 'em a show that's so splendiferous, row after row will crow vociferous, give 'em the old vajazzle dazzle, and they'll never catch wise.

by Catherine Bray

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    About Elly

    Taraneh Alidoosti stars in a gripping, award-winning mystery-thriller from Oscar-winning Iranian writer-director Asghar Farhadi.

  • Film4

    Odd Thomas

    Anton Yelchin stars in Stephen Sommers' charged adaptation of Dean Koontz's supernatural novel.

  • Film4

    Kick-Ass 2 on Film4

    Jim Carrey, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chloƫ Grace Moretz star in Film4's first play of the darkly comic sequel to Kick-Ass.

  • Film4

    Action Month 2016 on Film4

    A whole month of action favourites every night at 9.00pm throughout June.

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Five questions for Jim Gillespie

    We grabbed five minutes with Jim Gillespie after his Edinburgh International Film Festival directing masterclass to put five burning questions to the man behind I Know What You Did Last Summer, whose

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Clio Barnard's Dark River starts shooting

    Principal photography has commenced on Dark River, the third feature film from writer/director Clio Barnard (The Arbor, The Selfish Giant), starring Ruth Wilson (The Affair, Saving Mr Banks), Mark Sta

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share