Burlesque is a tricky animal. It starts seeming like a Chicago-style musical where the music is all diegetic or in the protagonist’s head. We see our main character Alice, played by Christina Aguilera, closing down the restaurant she works in while singing an upbeat song. It’s fine, if a little bland. Aguilera’s wig looks a little awkward, but it’s not the worst. We’re kept going at a breakneck clip that takes Alice from wherever this is (the Midwest?) out to California where she drops in on a performance at a burlesque club run by Tess (Cher). The nature of the musical changes slightly in this moment as we’re treated to a fairly classic table-setting number where Tess introduces each dancer and character of the club with their name and a kicky little line while they do about a four second dance display. Are we about to see frothy musical that’s as fun as it is sloppy?
Well, yes, and also no. Continue reading