Burlesque

Some bad movies you watch because some self-sabotaging part of your brain wonders, how bad could it really be? Some bad movies you watch because you’re too damn lazy to seek out a better one. Some bad movies you watch out of curiosity, or you’re in the mood to hate-watch something, or you don’t think the night deserves anything better. And sometimes, not often, but sometimes you’re just smart enough to avoid it. I’ve been actively choosing to not watch Burlesque since 2010, so much so that I never even realized how many of my favourite performers – Kristen Bell, Stanley Tucci, Alan Cumming – are in it. How did I come to finally watch this stinker?

This is going to sound like a stretch, but it basically comes down to our traveling to Mexico over Christmas. If you’ve ever been to an all-inclusive resort, then you know there’s a prescribed set of nightly entertainment. Five years ago, every resort had some crappy version of Broadway’s The Lion King, but I think Disney put the kibosh on that. We had a Jersey Boys night, a Pirates show, and the obligatory Michael Jackson tribute. And the resort also offered a burlesque show. We’ve seen some of the best burlesque in Las Vegas (and some of the worst). We’ve seen burlesque at Crazy Horse and the Moulin Rouge in Paris. We’ve seen some good shit, but having seen what passes for “Jersey” and “Boys” in Mexico, our expectations were appropriately tempered. We thought. What we weren’t expecting was a poor imitation of a reviled movie, but with Santa hats, and even Santa Claus. Merry Christmas eve to us!

In the movie, Ali (Christina Aguilera) is a small-town waitress who moves to L.A. to become a performer. Not a big dreamer, she seems content when she settles at Tess’s (Cher’s) burlesque bar, first as a waitress who has to prove her mettle, then as a performer that everyone else (Kristen Bell in particular) is jealous of.

The script is beyond bad. Like, there’s bad, and then if you keep going beyond bad, past terrible, past horrible even, orbiting somewhere around dreadful, you’ll find the script to Burlesque. Also, in my experience, burlesque involves some form of artsy striptease. In Burlesque, it means lip-syncing in your underwear. Possibly Xtina just can’t do two things at once. And good lord, we wouldn’t want her to.

So we’ve confirmed what we always suspected but never cared enough to validate. Burlesque is bad. Not even campy bad, not even so bad it’s good. It’s surprisingly boring for a movie that features so many beautiful women in lingerie. But you could watch a Victoria’s Secret commercial with the sound off and feel more satisfied than you will at the end of this movie. So thanks, Mexico, for piquing our interest and giving us a reason to seek out a stinker. Couldn’t have (wouldn’t have) done it without you!

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27 thoughts on “Burlesque

  1. sudershana

    Haha…I was totally amused by the way you have written even the review of the bad movies or I can use beyond bad sound so interesting. I genuinely loved your post.
    Hope you will get to see some good stuff really very soon!

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  2. selizabryangmailcom

    I was confused at first, because I got the title mixed up with “Showgirls.” So I’m like, “Cher? Stanley Tucci?
    But no. Similar cliches. Two different movies. 15 years between them, exhibiting once again Hollywood’s brain-dead “no risk” no creativity approach to story telling.

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    1. Jay Post author

      And oddly, some people think Showgirls is the better movie, because it’s so bad it’s good, while this one is just so bad.
      I don’t necessarily agree. I think both are just so bad. 😉

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  3. ninvoid99

    Yeah, that was an awful movie. To think a film with Cher, Stanley Tucci, Kristen Bell, and Alan Cumming wouldn’t be bad. Wrong…. it was made by people who didn’t know shit about filmmaking nor to how to tell a story.

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    1. orcaflotta

      “it was made by people who didn’t know shit about filmmaking nor to how to tell a story.”

      So it was basicallly The Last Jedi?
      I’lll definately give this one a pass. 😉

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      Reply
    2. selizabryangmailcom

      Hey, ninvoid99, regarding Last Jedi, though….did it bother you at all when Laura Dern said “Godspeed,” to the rebels? There’s deviation and then there’s….DEVIATION, know what I mean? God is never mentioned in Star Wars. It’s only The Force. Which, of course, IS God. I don’t know. It bugged me. That seemed like a SERIOUS stray from Star Wars canon. Verging on blasphemous, as far as fictional movie narratives go. 🙂

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      1. Jay Post author

        I think it’s probably just a saying that’s lost it’s literal meaning and is now just a thing people say. We still say kodak moment even though kodak doesn’t exist anymore. It’s not about the kodak, but about preserving a memory. We have tonnes of obsolete sayings in our language and we make more all the time. I’m not a christian either, but i can still say godspeed and people know what I mean, and religion does not play into it. But even if it did – the galaxy is immense and its people and occupants diverse. Just because we haven’t encountered it in the movies yet doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist in the universe.

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    1. Jay Post author

      Don’t do it! The show made me want to watch it because they used some weird clips, lots of voice overs, and most of the songs…and I shouldn’t have. As second-rate as the show was, the movie was much worse.

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  4. Liz A.

    Yeah, sometimes you just have to prove to yourself that missing it the first time was the right call. I like to watch those on fast forward sometimes. And definitely with knitting in my lap.

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  5. J.

    Genuinely dreadful movie. I don’t remember why we watched this one… perhaps thinking it would be a hoot? Or perhaps it was on when we finished something else? We couldn’t stop watching, though… it’s awfulness is mesmerising (it’s all way too serious, too… Cher is really quite something).

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  6. Birgit

    How I love your personal Burlesque show at the resort interspersed with your critique of this dreadful film that i have yet to see. One day, when my brain has turned off and I want to see something very bad, I will tune in. Remember Henry Fonda, Shelley Winters and John Huston all starred in Tentacles so good actors do appear in dreck.

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    1. Jay Post author

      Oh yes they do all the time!
      I think it’s funny that you too have ‘bad movie’ moods. I guess sometimes we just don’t want to waste a good movie when we’re not totally into it. It’s still weird that we do this to ourselves but I feel better knowing I’m not the only one!

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  7. Christopher

    I have a terrible confession to make: I’ve seen Burlesque more than once. Although now that I think about it “seen” might be a bit of a stretch. I’ve been in the same room while it was on more than once, usually dozing, and the nicest thing I can say about it is that I always wake up at the one part that’s mildly interesting: Stanley Tucci thinks a cute guy at a wedding party is staring at the girl he’s dancing with, but the next morning we discover Stanley and said guy have had a great night together.
    I’m sure the filmmakers were very pleased with themselves for that drop of diversity.

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