So, is Ali short for anything?
Yeah, it’s short for Alice.
Alice, huh? Well, welcome to Wonderland.
So, is this a bad movie? I mean, yeah, it’s a bad movie. Christina Aguilera plays a small-town girl who moves to L.A. to become a dancer/singer in a fancy nightclub and, you know, dreams and such. It’s about as bad as that summary would make you think. But there are a handful of decent things in it. Stanley Tucci, for instance, plays the assistant to Cher, who owns the club and if anyone can bring an underwritten character to life, it’s Stanley Tucci; he even gets a few chuckles out of the really tired jokes the script offers just because he delivers them like he means them. Likewise, Aguilera is a charismatic lead, likable even when she’s whiffing big dramatic moments. The musical sequences are sometimes fun, often because, well, look, I don’t want to be a perv or whatever, but this movie is filled with beautiful young women wearing very little in the way of clothing and often gyrating their mostly unclothed bodies around to music. Among those women are Christina Aguilera, Kristen Bell & Juliana Hough (looking smoking hot as a redhead, by the way). I mean, this movie is pleasant to watch. Kind of amazing this movie actually got made really; I don’t know how anything got done on the set. The musical sequences are often quite good, especially a surprisingly downbeat scene where Cher gives a really great beautiful reading to You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me & the high-energy closing number Show Me How You Burlesque (nonsensical title, but, hey). But if you think I’m giving this movie a positive review, I’m not. Basically, the script is awful. Aguilera’s Ali finds herself torn between Cam Gigandet’s eyeliner-wearing bartender & Eric Dane’s wealthy real-estate mogul. The dialogue is generally awful and, unfortunately, both Gigandet and Dane are really bad, so that whole story goes nowhere which is also about how far the plotline involving the club crew having to find the necessary money to keep the club from being demolished. Peter Gallagher & James Brolin are both wasted in this plotline, which has an incredibly stupid resolution. The scene of Gigandet trying to seduce Aguilera is one of the worst scenes I’ve seen all year. About the best you can say about this movie is that you’re never more than ten minutes from a musical performance and most of those are fun. 2 stars.
tl;dr – musical sequences occasionally enliven this misbegotten script; sexy but not tawdry, but also not smart. 2 stars.