Pop star Christina’s big screen debut...

There have been a string of films like it before.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 21st December 2010, 10:55 am

From Dreamgirls, Glitter and Crossroads, many popstars and singers have attempted to cross over from the stage to the big screen.

And for the most part these films have not had the Oscar world quaking in its boots.

There is nothing much different, I’m afraid to say, about Burlesque.

The rags to riches fairytale is nothing original and is in danger of falling flat on its make-up clad face.

But there is something about it that kept me glued to the screen for its entirety.

The glitzy songs and dance routines and belting voice by Christina Aguilera could well make this my guilty pleasure film of the year.

During the first few minutes I did wonder what I had let myself in for and questioned whether I was about to waste the next two hours of my life.

Ali (Aguilera) works as a waitress in Iowa, but she secretly dreams of stardom beneath the glittering light of Los Angeles.

The first scene shows her slaving away in a diner then, after closing times, she drops the blinds, and belts out a tune.

It’s a shame this scene comes so early in the film. It shows that Ali can sing and so isn’t a surprise for the audience when the cast hear her killer set of pipes for the first time much later on.

Ali puts on her high heels, leaves the trailer park where she lives and heads for the bright lights of Hollywood.

There she stumbles upon the Burlesque cabaret club on Sunset Boulevard, owned by Tess (Cher) and best friend Sean (Stanley Tucci), who looks after the costumes.

Without being given a job, the waitress picks up a tray and begins serving drinks.

Before you can say feather boa, Ali is auditioning for one of the roles of the dancing girls.

This instantly riles the current leading lady Nikki (Kristen Bell) who thinks nothing of turning up for work late steaming drunk.

Ali catches the eye of hunky barman Jack (Cam Gigandet), who offers her a place to stay when her hotel room is burgled she loses everything.

She also catches the eye of local property developer Marcus (Eric Dane).

But after landing her dream role it isn’t all plain sailing for Ali as trouble looms.

Tess is months in arrears and her beloved club will be sold off if she cannot raise a small fortune in just a matter of a few weeks.

Despite the pleas from her partner and ex-husband Vince (Peter Gallagher) she stands firm and refuses to sell

All I will say now is – thank goodness Ali can sing like an international superstar.

Burlesque is Aguilera’s first big screen debut and in places you can tell.

Thankfully her somewhat rigid acting is over shadowed by the her singing performances.

The dance sequences were spectacular and were what kept me entertained.

Burlesque’s writer and director is Steven Antin – who clearly took inspiration for the routines from his brother Robin, who is the founder of the extremely successful Pussycat Dolls. Some of the choreography is very reminiscent of what they do.

Cher shows she still has what it takes to belt out a tune or two when she performs the power ballad You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me.

Her scenes with Sean were for me the highlight of the film. It seemed like friendly banter between two friends that just happened to be captured by a camera.

And the soundtrack will keep your toes tapping throughout the film.

by Sam Chetwynd

Star rating HHH