Punishment Revisited: Burlesque

 Note: This was the final payment of torture from losing the 2018 Summer Box Office Challenge.  While I was an eager beaver with reviewing the first two films, I left this one until late in April of 2019, just barely squeaking it in before the deadline.  It seems that I cared so little about this review that I refused to go back and proofread it, something that is a bit of a trend with some punishment films.  Here is the original review, un-proofed and in all of its awful glory.

Original Review

This is the final film that I have to review for losing a bet, and in four months I will most likely be losing the same bet once again.  For those unaware, on the podcast that I co-host, The Movie Breakdown, a yearly bet takes place.  We do a draft where we each select ten summer movies, and the feller whose picks cumulatively made the most in their opening weekends is the victorious champion.  I always lose.  Thusly, I am doomed to the punishment which is watching and reviewing three movies that are picked to inflict pain.  This is my last hurdle to jump, and if I didn't get it reviewed before the next draft takes place (this upcoming weekend), then I am subjected to a further three films.  Let's jump in then, shall we?

Released in 2010, Burlesque strives to appeal to music fans by bringing together two huge names.  Firstly, we have Cher, an Oscar winning singer and actress.  Seceondly, we have Christina Aguilera, a singer who identifies as a genie in a bottle that you have to rub the right way.  Not to much surprise, one of these people conveys emotion in the film, and the other... well, I guess she sings, so points for her.

Aguilera plays Ali, a girl who needs money (if I remember correctly.  I saw the first half of this film about four months ago and just got around to finishing the darned thing).  Wandering into a club with music and performers, Ali wants in, but Cher's character, Tess, will have none of it.  Ali finally proves she can sing, and then unveils her worth as she points out that the girls in the shows are simply lip-synching, and the product would be a thousand times better if they actually sung the songs.  Well played, because she is correct.  However, the ironic cruelty of this plot point is that director Steve Antin misses the logic in this and the performances in the film are recorded and then lip synched.  There is a much different sound to something that is recorded in the studio and something that would have been recorded while filming.  If you don't believe me, listen to the over produced songs in this and compare it to the songs in A Star is Born.  Honestly, I am fine that they did it that way, it just needs to be brought up when a character literally makes an argument against a technique used by the director.

I forgot to mention that the club Tess owns is in financial trouble, because you can't have a movie like this without that cliche.  Also, SPOILER, Tess ends up not only winning the hearts of her peers, but also saves the club.  Didn't see that coming.  Along the way, there are just so many empty scenes where the film is just doing what it feels it must.  Of course there is going to be a romance that takes a while to blossom before running into trouble exactly with half an hour left.  The tension that separates them (before they reconcile, of course) is painfully forced and lacks any reality or logic.  These moments always happen in films, but they at least need to be believable.

One of my biggest problems in this film is the character of Ali, and how she is written in regards to men.  Maybe I'm the only person that didn't like this, and it could be that I'm creating an issue that isn't actually there.  My problem is that Ali doesn't seem to have her own mind when it comes to the men in her life.  If they want something, Ali goes with it.  When really tired after a day of working and just wanting to go home, a guy takes her purse and says she needs to go out with him to get it back.  A sigh that seems to say, 'oh, those silly boys,' and Ali is off with him.  A guy breaks up with his fiancé, and literally only a few hours later and he wants to get physical, and once again it doesn't seem to be that she has her own mind.  This is a character that is supposed to be strong, but I couldn't get into that when her life seems to revolve around what the men want.  At the end she gets mad and does her own thing, but that's part of the scene that was without reality or logic.

The concept of the film is fine, and while cliche it could have still been a decent enough experience.  Unfortunately the writing is uninspired and tired, just going through the same motions of the better movies that came before it.  Cher is fine, and Aguilera isn't horrible, but it is clear that acting is not her day job.  If you love music, watch it.  If you love music and respect yourself, the choice is yours, but choose wisely.  Don't choose poorly.

Rating - 1 out of 4 stars

NOTE - I always go back and proof read my stuff, but sometimes I am writing and I just don't want to return to it ever again.  This is one of those times.