I knew this would be a hot mess when the ads came out last fall.
But, it looked like the kind of train wreck that would be fun to watch. Xtina & Cher in the gayest movie of 2010? COME ON!
So, in theory, a fun campy 2 hours.
You know how Communism is supposed to work in theory?
The movie is essentially a toned down, PG-13 version of "Showgirls," which is a mistake. "Showgirls" was "All About Eve" reimagined by leering pervert lunatics. It was terrible, but it was a hoot and it had a shit ton of nudity. (And it's even more of a hoot when you watch it on basic cable and all the boobs are covered with bad CGI black bra tops.) If you tone down the nudity and the insanity, all you have left are the bad showbiz cliches and the terrible dialogue.
The music? Ugh. The first big number (Burlesque) is a straight up rip off of Cabaret, right down to the staging, only lacking all the wit & verve. It's like Kander & Ebb ate a bad Kurt Weill taco and then sprayed all over the sheet music. It is unfathomable that anyone - no matter far up in the sticks they're from - would be wowed by that sorry dance number that Cher & company limp through. Really, the dust town Xtina's from doesn't get MTV? You've never seen a Pussycat Dolls video?
If she moves too fast, something might fall off...
And then the burlesque "star" butchers her way through "Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend." Apparently, Xtina has never seen a movie of any kind or heard anyone sing because it just blows her away.
Moulin Rouge? Never heard of it.
Watching Cher these days, it has to rank as one of the all time great cons that she won an Oscar. As she slurs her way through awful lines like "Don't call me Ma'am," you get the feeling that Glenn Close and Holly Hunter may want to ask for a recount. (Also, there is the unintentional hilarity of having Cher sing a song called "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" in almost complete darkness. Spackle only hides so much.)
I deserved that Oscar, you crazy bitch!
The rest of the film starts to blur together. For god's sake - Wagon Wheel Watusi? That's a dance number that should be on the Roy Rogers show. And I know this is the gayest movie of the year, but to have Madonna songs and an actual glitter gun? And Alan Cuming? Can't you let him actually sing? He won a Tony! Please let him have more dignity than playing a camp parody of the MC from Cabaret in one and a half scenes.
The greatest sin of this movie is that it is dull. Not even the musical numbers can get into the level of insanity needed to make this watchable. It just ends up a muddle of showbiz cliches and Xtina pouting. It's can't even muster up the energy to be bad.
(If you would like even more Burlesque-bashing, give a listen to Paul Scheer's How Did This Get Made Podcast on the subject. The podcast series in general is great fun for bad movie afficionados.)