Welcome to your annual fix of musical-diva-drama, drama, drama. Burlesque follows Ali (Christina Aguilera) as she gives up the triflin’ life o’ small town bar-tending Iowa for the big lights of Los Angeles. Stumbling upon a sexy burlesque club her first night in town, she befriends the Kentucky barman Jack (Cam Gigandet after a turn at Twilight — but let’s admit it, we all remember him best as badboy Kevin from The OC). Abiding by the tried-and-tested Coyote Ugly format – except he’s the bashful songwriter and she’s the sassy, over-confident hustler, it’s a match that’s too good to come true.
Impatient, ambitious Ali troops right on up to club owner Tess (Cher) and her right-hand man Sean (the ever brilliant Stanley Tucci) but is swatted away like the irritating fly she is. That is, until a series of lucky moments makes her the star of the club. Obviously.
Replete with massive eyelashes, handfuls of pearls and more twitching bums you can make a grab at, Burlesque is everything it has ever promised. Which is, incidentally, only one moment that is realistically burlesque (thanks to Allan Cumming), and a whole load of Hollywood glamour. As Xtina’s film debut it’s a good start. Characterisation is fittingly shallow with hilariously poor dialogue and paint-by-numbers writing. However, there are still some good performances and fun musical numbers keep the tempo upbeat and the dazzle razzlin’.
It’s an excellent drunk-with-girlfriends movie, and you won’t want to miss Kristin Bell’s movie-stealing moment with the line of the year: “I will not be upstaged by some chick with mutant lungs!’
Burlesque is out now in the US, and is released this Friday, 17 December in the UK.