About Me

A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Friday, December 17, 2010


This didn't look so good from the coming attraction, and I kind of sat down and said if it wasn't good I would leave. And the odd thing was, I didn't think it was very good, and I couldn't get up out of my chair because there was a certain fascination to watching it unfold.

Christina Aguilera plays some hick from Oklahoma or something whom we're shown for a moment or two at the beginning leaving for the big city. She ends up at Club Burlesque, with Cher and Stanley Tucci running the place kind of like you had Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci running the magazine in The Devil Wore Prada, or doing Julia Child. A real estate developer wants to buy the club from Cher and Peter Gallagher. Cher has a mortgage not due she has no hope of paying, but won't sell. There's this bartender played by Cam Gigandet, and Christina Aguilera ends up on his couch, but he's engaged to an actress conveniently doing a play on the East Coast.

Can you write this script? You can probably write it better than the actual script. You can guess, and you'd be right, that Christina and Cam will end up sleeping together, that the wife on the East coast will be on the West coast just in time to walk in on the two of them. You can guess that Christina will be tempted by the dark side but will ultimately save the club for Cher. You might even be able to write the script coherently which the actual script most assuredly does not.

I mean, if you wanted Cher to have a solo number, you might find an actual way in the script to give her a solo number. Here, she walks out of a meeting, somebody says "finally, I've been waiting twelve hours for you to come out to practice this number" and Cher goes "oh, OK, let's do it." And I'm sitting there, looking at this, and it's so false.

But then I say, "oh, they needed to give Cher a solo number. Well, if you have Cher in the movie shouldn't she have a solo number. Well, of course you should. So bring on the show!"

Cam Gigandet, when I started this blog years and years ago I said in a not admiring way that he looked post collegiate in the movie Never Back Down that was supposed to deal with high schoolers. He hasn't gotten any younger. He's 28 years old, big and beefy and made up to look like the emcee in Cabaret so he looks even older. What's he doing hanging out with Christina Aguilera here. But this is the kind of glorious wreck that, why, if you're going to have Cam Gigandet look like Joel Grey in Cabaret, then you also have Alan Cumming, the British actor of note who looks like Joel Grey in Cabaret because he played that role on a Broadway revival.

So I just sat and watched. I reveled in every delightful line reading by Cher and Stanley Tucci. I reveled in the silliness and the artificiality and it was all so garish and overdone and ludicrous that eventually you come to the point where the fact that it's a bad script and not even a good bad script at that (writer/director is Steve Antin) doesn't even seem to matter any longer.

After the Amerindie flatness of a Blue Valentine, Burlesque is the perfect cure. It's not good. It's not as bad as a train wreck. But there's something glorious and wonderful about it nonetheless that you have to kind of see at least in the right mood to understand. I wonder if this will have afterlife in five years that Showgirls has had...

And it's really nice to see Cher back on screen. Really really nice. and Stanley Tucci plays off the Chers and the Meryl Streeps of the world so wonderfully.


lexcade said...

i didn't really want to watch this movie, but i'm almost *almost* willing to try it when it's in the dollar cinema. i love a good trainwreck, and one can only hope that we have a burlesque version of Showgirls. that movie is classically bad, but i always watch a few minutes of it and laugh hysterically when it's on.

Maria said...

That sounds like an amazingly bad movie...

Anonymous said...

Interesting review...

I wanted to see that movie purely for the fact that Christina Aguilera is in it. She has an AMAZING voice.