Ali (Aguilera) is a small-town girl from Iowa with a big dream and talent to match. She is trying to break free from the mundane and do what she truly loves. Tess (Cher) is the proud owner of The Burlesque Lounge on the Sunset Strip who struggles to keep the theatre financially in the black, and fending off Marcus’ (Dane) attempts at trying to buy the club. Their worlds collide when Ali, down on her luck, decides to escape to Los Angeles and pursue her dreams. After constant rejections, she stumbles upon the lounge one night and with sheer determination manages to get a job at the club. She has her sights set on the stage however and hounds Tess continuously until she finally relents. Her big voice draws in the crowds…and the male attention from both Jack (Gigandet) and Marcus.
A clichéd plot, right? This is not a movie that will offer you any originality. It is all about the music and stage production. The costumes and soundtrack are simply phenomenal as are the dance routines. It combines everything I love about Chicago and Moulin Rouge. The script is mediocre but what is there to expect from what is essentially an amalgamation of all these kinds of films. And yet there is just something about this movie that captivates you and draws you in.
The acting is not amazing and this shows that going under the surgical knife is not conducive to being an actor. Cher and Christina’s doll-like faces are a bit off-putting. This is Aguilera’s acting debut and she does well with what she is given, portraying the doe-eyed Ali as both naïve and sexy. Tucci is great as the gay confidant Sean to both Tess and Ali (albeit reminiscent of his character in The Devil Wears Prada). Kristen Bell is the main act being sidelined for Ali and is annoyed by this “I will not be upstaged by a girl from Iowa with mutant lungs”.
Mutant lungs they most definitely are as Aguilera blows you away with every single number as does Cher and the rest of the cast. The plot is formulaic and predictable, the acting ok but this is not about being satisfied with an incredible story. It is an absolute pleasure to watch – guilty or not, you decide!