For her first feature film, Christina Aguilera could not have picked better than the sequin-clad, camp musical Burlesque.
The singer’s first outing on the big screen is in a role that seems almost handcrafted for her. Aguilera plays Ali, a small town girl with stars in her eyes and a big voice. She moves to Los Angeles where she eventually pushes her way onto a stage, only to blow its hardened cynic owner away with her burlesque routine, saving the day in the process.
Burlesque is the ultimate showcase for Aguilera’s massive voice, smoking hot body and terrible acting. Yep, she can’t act. But in Burlesque that doesn’t really matter. This isn’t some kind of gritty character study or thought-provoking drama. It’s camp, camp, camp, camp, camp.
Aguilera bops around the stage with an infectious confidence, giving Ali a cute cheer and sweetness very different to the artist herself – there are no leather Diiirty chaps here. The storyline she has to work with is pretty predictable and familiar, but it’s hard not to feel that anything complex and heavy would have suffered under Aguilera’s fledgling acting skills.
Amping up the camp factor is an ageless Cher – thanks to lots of Vaseline lens work. She’s looking good and playing feisty but financially flummoxed Tess, who owns the club where Ali works. She even belts out a number, although this musical interlude is the only one in the entire show that feels “inserted for contractual reasons”.
A definite stand out moment is a very camp performance by Alan Cumming, full of great double entendres and including the surprising use of a banana.
Although Burlesque won’t set the world on fire, it is a lot of fun. The costumes are stunning, the musical numbers upbeat and Aguilera is in great form. It’s roll-your-eyes clichéd, but that actually makes it unintentionally hilarious.
Burlesque is in cinemas nationally from January 13.