Even at the peak of her career, Christina Aguilera never rose to the manic level of superstardom enjoyed by her Mickey Mouse Club counterpart Britney Spears, but Burlesque reminds us just what the girl’s always about—those pipes.
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Making her feature film debut in this musical drama, Aguilera plays a small-town girl with big city dreams and an even bigger voice. Buying a one-way ticket to Los Angeles, she stumbles upon a burlesque club run by a former dancer, Tess (played by the grand dame of pop herself, Cher). Enchanted by the level of showmanship she sees on the stage, she seizes whatever opportunity she can to get her foot in the door—including waiting tables. Of course, the chance to shine comes soon enough, and she transforms with ease from eager beaver to the club’s newest darling while making new friends as well as enemies.
The musical scenes razzle and dazzle, yet at times is so unabashedly campy that you can’t help but give in, sit back and enjoy the spectacle. There’s no emotional rollercoaster a la Dreamgirls, but the mother-daughter chemistry between Cher and Aguilera as well as the latter’s headstrong yet innocent appeal provides all the drama that’s needed. Cher herself delivers one of the movie’s most memorable scenes (there aren’t too many to begin with) with a Diane Warren number titled “You Haven’t Seen The Last Of Me” that will give you goosebumps. Watch Burlesque not for its story but its intoxicating cocktail of sass, sequins and rediscovered star power.