Doug & the Movies: 'Burlesque'

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See if this sounds a little familiar: A talented hometown girl, frustrated by lack of opportunity, packs her meager belongings and with a pitiful stash of cash heads for fame and fortune in the big city. And guess what? Fame and fortune is a little more elusive than anticipated. After more traditional performing outlets have been seemingly exhausted, our budding starlet finds herself in the embrace of and even mesmerized by the spicier side of showbiz.

Oh, and did I mention that her apartment is ransacked, her funds are gone, driving her into the patronage of a caring male friend? No, it's not "Coyote Ugly," no it's not "Showgirls." It's "Burlesque" featuring Christina Aguilera.

Aguilera stars as Ali, who wanders into a burlesque lounge and is so determined to end up on the glitzy, revealing stage she picks up a tray and starts to wait tables. Things begin to fall in place and when one of the burlesque stars, Nikki (Kristen Bell) can't perform, the owner of the club, Tess (Cher) gives Ali her break.

The story is much more complex and there are all kinds of backstage stories and rivalries, but I think you get the drift. This most formulaic film is simply an outlet for Aguilera to, quite effectively, belt out tunes in her film debut. But it's not an exclusive showcase for Christina; Cher steps up and delivers a couple of showstoppers including "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me," that prompted spontaneous applause during the screening.

When it comes to performances, the best in the film is Stanley Tucci, again in a very familiar role, as the back stage genius who coordinates costumes, routines and shepherds his gaggle of delicate, temperamental and beautiful performers. "Burlesque" is very saucy and even though it carries a PG-13 rating, brace yourself for some very revealing and sexual scenes made even a little more stark by the fact that we've watched some of these actresses grow up, including Utah's own Julianne Hough.

I'm only giving Burlesque two and a half stars and that primarily because of some show-stopping music. Again, be aware that even though it carries a PG-13 rating it's very sexual and suggestive.

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Doug Wright


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