Wigs for All, Pants for None
BURLESQUE (2010/IN THEATERS) The siren song of a potential camp classic compelled me to make the trek out west to Chesterfield (home of a mile-long strip mall of horrors) for a preview screening of this somewhat mysterious Christina Aguilera/Cher musical.
I don’t think I was disappointed? It’s certainly not bad–the plot was thin (we have to band together to save the old burlesque house from evil developers!), but moved quickly and there were enough strobe lights, high kicks, and scenes of Aguilera strutting down the street practicing dance moves while fellow pedestrians looked on admiringly to keep the audience happy. But where was the camp? The only Showgirls worthy line came about 3/4 of the way through when Cher reminded Kristen Bell (really sweating it here to play a humorless, self-destructive bitch [and, well, to dance], with a chirpy delivery that gives away the Doris Day within) about “How many times I held your hair back while you threw up everything but your memories!” Now that’s what I’m talking about. More please.
The cast! Volchok–sorry, Cam Gigandet–as the romantic lead says more words in this movie than in “The O.C.” and Twilight combined! And he’s not awful! He’s magnetic in that local rock star kind of way, and is pretty evenly matched with Aguilera for their scenes of flirty banter that lead to tru luv. Aguilera is absolutely fine in her role–in the singer-turned-actress category, I’d put her closer to Mandy Moore than Britney. That is meant to be a compliment. Her voice sounds fantastic, and she looks so lovely that it makes this even sadder. Somebody help!
It also features the holy triumvirate of flamboyant films: Stanley Tucci as, of course, an avuncular, somewhat asexual, witty assistant, Peter Gallagher as Cher’s hyperventilating and floppy-haired ex-husband, and Alan Cumming, who hangs around in the shadows making Cabaret faces. Thanks for stopping by, boys.
And finally, Cher. I’m not sure why she chose to do this film–maybe it just looked like a good time–but she sure looks gorgeous slumming it. She’s shot in the loving, reverent way that Streisand shoots herself, and belts out a couple of numbers (one welcoming us into the film, and one telling us not to count her out–as if!) utilizing little-to-no autotune. It’s fun! And it makes you hope that Burlesque is a big hit, just so we can see more of her.
PS, HOLY SHIT! SML road trip!