Burlesque comes laden with expectations - Christina's debut vehicle, Cher, a musical with them together - but all that and more goes for a toss as all the characters and their stories get caught in an all-too-cliched plot. If you're really looking for a one-sentence answer to your curiosity: Don't go for this if you loved Chicago
and are looking for about the same.
Ali (Christina Aguilera) is a small-town girl who's come to Los Angeles to pursue her singing dreams, and lands at Burlesque, a club owned by Tess (Cher). Tess's club is in a financial mess and is on the verge of being auctioned off by the bank or acquired by a real estate tycoon (Eric Dane, fits well) unless a miracle happens.
Ali, one of the many dancing girls until then, shows her song and dance routine accidentally, and Tess realizes she's found her star. The rest of the story is about how good a showgirl Ali is and how Tess sorts out the financial mess with ample help from her.
But then, it doesn't flow as smoothly as that; lots of predictable things happen before it all ends well. There's Ali's cliched love story with Jack (Cam Gigandet), the bartender cum budding songwriter who befriends her and takes her in as a roommate. This particular romantic subplot is probably the biggest disappointment in the movie; it's insipid and uninspiring, and does nothing to save the movie. Then there's the classic showgirl rivalry with Nikki (Kristen Bell), which ends all too easily towards the end.
The movie's got its saving moments, too, though. There's Tess's character as the ageing diva ready to face it all to save her club, a role that fits Cher very well. The song and dance sequences are the high points of the movie, especially a couple of Christina's acts and Cher's 'Welcome To Burlesque' and 'Last Of Me'.
The show stealer, however, unexpectedly enough, is Stanley Tucci, who plays Sean, Tess's right hand man and shoulder-to-cry-on. Tucci lives the character with panache and is the most endearing of all the characters in the movie. Christina Aguilera doesn't surprise with her acting prowess - suffice to say her song and dance routines are definitely better than her acting scenes.
Overall, like we said, don't go expecting a great movie, and you'd be pleasantly surprised by the soundtrack, the stage performances and the visuals. And if you are a Cher or Aguilera fan, you won't be disappointed either.