Thursday, August 05, 2010

Yes, No, Maybe So: Burlesque

I almost don't have the stamina for this after drooling all over Showgirls (1995) for three or so hours yesterday. But the first trailer for the new musical Burlesque (2010) has arrived and we'll all be comparing the films from now on. Until we're actually watching it at least. Then... who knows? Movie|Line has already memorably mocked the trailer saying
What would happen if Glitter, Showgirls and Nine had a baby — and that baby was raised by Cher and Stanley Tucci’s character from The Devil Wears Prada?
And we can't compete with that. Sometimes you just have to tip your hat.

But we're here for the "Yes, No or Maybe So?" treatment anyway which isn't the same thing as making fun. Are you eager to see it, desperate to avoid or totally on the fence? It's often some mix for me and this is how it breaks down.

Cher in a big starring role insures my ticket purchase. Listen up, I paid for Tea With Mussolini for pete's chaz's sake. I think only 90 people did. I am loyal. From the ebb and flow of this trailer (already disappearing from the web) it looks like she's playing the Velma Kelly or Cristal Connors role only mixed with Mama Morton. It's like she's being the seasoned pro diva but leaving the dirtywork catfighting to minions (like Kristen Bell?). I can totally get behind Cher as wisdom dispenser/diva entrepreneur who delegates her bitchiest moments to others.

Did it have to be Christina Aguilera? Hasn't she been working this burlesque thing for some years now? That big character reveal moment that is supposed to shock everyone where she starts the vocals, preventing the curtain drop? It already feels anti-climactic. Big whoop-dee-doo. Christina can do growly runs. I think this sort of storyline begs for an unknown in the lead or a name that we didn't know could sing like a madwoman. Someone who can shock you with their lion's roar when you assumed they were a pussycat (doll).

On the other hand... the supporting cast looks very fun. We see a lot of reliable ol' Stanley Tucci in Prada mode, Kristen Bell promises great catfight in her blink and you'll miss her kittenish moment, and Alan Cumming, who could outperform most Burlesque divas just by replaying any single moment of his Tony-winning emcee performance from Cabaret , is also glimpsed. How enjoyable the movie is may well rest on how much screen time these supporting players get. Of course it might make me crazy that they're all second fiddle to Xtina but what can you do. Hollywood has never been much of a meritocracy.

You know what to do in the comments. And you'd better do it. Cher is in the (movie) house and she doesn't come around too often. Be ready with a tip for a true show queen.


Jake D said...

I'm officially worried. It looks like a showcase for Christina, even like it was maybe conceived as "Let's try to win Christina an Oscar!!1" But then they shouldn't have made it a two-female-lead thing cuz we all know that's going to end up rough.

Anyway, love Cher and Tucci and have high hopes, but I have a feeling this is going to have too much ambition with too little consideration of its possible shortcomings (i.e. can Christina act?).

Philip said...

Some of the dialogue seems a little...ehhh. I'm a Maybe So. Actually, I know I'm gonna end up seeing it, so I'm technically a Yes, but I'm not that impressed with the trailer (although probably more impressed than I thought I would be).


Jake -- it does look like that, huh? I'm hoping against hope that that's just a marketing decision and that it's more of a ensemble thing.

I can dream!

I wish the colors were a little less showgirls derivative but i guess it's hard to get rid of pinks and yellows in that milieu.

MrJeffery said...

I love that quip from MovieLine. The finished product will prob. be so bad it's good. I hope.

ShoNuff Lives said...

i'll probably go for it. it looks like a whopping mess. probably going to be a viewing by my drunk movie club buddies. and there's kristen bell!

NicksFlickPicks said...

You didn't add the best part: that it's directed by that guy from Without You, I'm Nothing! The guy whose calls Jodie stops taking after she wins the Oscar for The Accused.

Bia said...

I don't know if this will go down in history like Showgirls--which took itself very seriously, that was the genius of it. No one except Gina Gershon (clearly) knew what kind of movie was being made.

This looks intentionally over-the-top and campy...the trailer seems to revel in being a B-movie, no?


Nick -- i have to save some stuff for opening ;) i hope he pulls it off and sticks it to Jodie!

Liv. said...

i'm beyond excited. it doesn't even bother me that this movie will probably be awful. obviously, Cher is major motivation to buy a ticket. but i'm a child of the 90's and, for better or worse, Christina Aguilera is one of those figures from my youth that i will always worship. so in approx. 30 years when she's doing dates in Branson and/or Atlantic City dives, i'll be there with my OG copy of the Genie in a Bottle single. moral of the story: a big yes from me.

adelutza said...

Well, as Nathaniel said, the presence of Cher in the film insures that I'll be there probably opening week.
Other than that, I honestly don't have any kind of expectations about this.

Hayden said...

This has failure written all over it. And you can take it out of your Best Song predictions if that awful mess at the end is what they're working with.

And even if it is "intentionally over-the-top and campy," I don't think Christina Aguilera is smart enough to understand that. They probably asked her to play it straight while the others exchanged winks and trannied it up.

Craig said...

It's a win-win either way the film goes. It could be another great musical a la Chicago, Moulin Rouge or Cabaret, or it could be the Showgirls or Mommie Dearest (my personal favorite all-time camp film) of the 21-century. Any way, hey, bring it on!

Kevin P. Durkin said...

I'm a maybe so simply because of Cher. It looks and feels too much like "Glitter" for me to be a "yes". I hate Christina Aguilera, sorry to be so blunt. I really can't stand her.

JJ said...

If the entire script is as weak as the dialogue in the trailer, then I don't see it going far. However, I'm sensing an Oscar nod for Cher.

seasondays said...

this trailer reads more like a short than anything else

i'm so worried, the film can go so wrong

let's hope it is an ensemble movie because no one could stand an entire film with CHRISTINA on frame every second

although i'm grateful that TUCCI is cast more often in this past years, why should he play the exact same character every time?

i'm crossing my fingers ALAN CUMMING plays a big role in the film, but i guess the tv male costars will steal every second that ALAN could have of screen time

Daniel Armour said...

This movie looks like yet another vanity project - along the the lines of Glitter - that plays it safe and doesn't have an ounce of originality to it. Aguilera, who I like as musical artist and find incredibly beautiful, looks stiff as a board and every body else doesn't even register.

Still, I'm curious to see how this will turn out, so I MAY give it a chance. I just don't get why music stars do these vanity projects as their acting debuts. It causes people to immediately dismiss the film and it hinders the opportunity to prove that they can actually act! If Aguilera really wanted to blow people away, she should played something completely against type. Now that's an acting debut!

Jazz said...

It's Cher - i love her. i'm so glad she is back making a film. she'll play the Burlesque bitch so well.
as for Christina...we'll see. i just have no opinion of her yet.
BUT WHAT A STELLAR supporting cast??
Regardless of how dire or how brilliant this film will be. The bottom line is Cher wil probably steal every scene she's in
ok is it thanksgiving yet?

pomme said...

i big NO for the trailer:
i dislike Musical movies(what am i on this blog? LOL) ,that looks so CLICHE and Aguilera looks awful and caricatural

Simone said...

Who is that in the "Maybe So" pic?

Trailer looks awful. Christina's going to have an even worse year. A flop album, and now what's sure to be a Razzies lightening rod. Sad really for someone with her vocal abilities.

Lucky said...

I'm a YES. I never would've thought that I'd end up wanting to watch this, but hey, Kristen Bell can make me watch almost anything (not When in Rome, but I saw Pulse because of her). And even if it's bad, which I think it will be, it won't fail, because it's not the kind of movie that really needs to be good in order for people to like it.

I'm hoping for a so-bad-it's-good with lots of Kristen on it!

cal roth said...

If you're going to make a film with a superstar, why the hell to cast a has been like Christina Aguilera? Come on, the it girl now is Lady Gaga, and I know that whenever she hits the big screen, she'll deliver a good performance. She's a David Bowie waiting to happen.

Kyle said...


That trailer was a mess. That's gonna be a trainwreck for all involved.

Bobby said...

Ohh I see Nathaniel is already trying to hate on Christina in the movie. How surprising. NOT. Is there ANY Gaga fan who's not biased???

Jason H. said...

I want it to be good not just because of Cher, but also for the fact that original screen musicals are so very rare these days. There are so many movie musicals based on stage musicals or stage musicals based on movies or even movie musicals based on stage musicals based on movies nowadays that I want something original to succeed.

That being said, it looks more like Glitter than Chicago. With Aguilera's last album failing, this now seems like her only chance to save her career, and the outlook doesn't look good.

No matter what, though, Cher will out-act her.

John T said...

Wouldn't a return for Cher to the Oscars just be awesome. The singing divas who detour into acting (Cher, Bette, etc.) haven't had a contender at the Oscars in a long time, it'd be nice to see one return.

Terry said...

Oscar nod for Cher ? You're kidding right ? Not likely. If it hits at a 50% approval rating, she MIGHT get a Golden Globe nomination. At best.


my head is going to explode reading these comments. HAHA it's like everyone is bringing their own issues and then they're intermingling with mine. it's an orgy of ISSUES.

p.s. Bobby. it's true i don't like Christina. Which is kinda odd because every once in awhile i totally do. It's like i am able to enjoy every third note. Or something. No matter how much I'm loving somethign Christina she always manages to turn me right off somewhere INSIDE OF what i'm enjoying.

for this reason i shall never be a fan though I have definitely enjoyed a note here or there particularly "Drrty" and "Beautiful" and that phrasing in "Not Myself TOnight" (even though the song & video piss me off) of "and if you don't like it [****] you" or however it goes. I hate that she has such a terrible attitude and yet my favorite bit is when she's being an a-hole.


Walter L. Hollmann said...

Man, that "wonderland" line made me so happy. When I'm able to say a line with a character the first time I'm watching something, I know I'm in Bad Movie Heaven. But then again, Cher. I feel like I'll love it no matter what, just like Mamma Mia!.

Kat said...

I'm a Maybe. I want to see some great song and dance moments, but I'm not convinced by the trailer. I'll wait for the first wave of audience reviews before committing.

Bobby said...

That's fine if you don't like her. Just keep it out of the blog. It used to be my favourite because it was positive, smart and unbiased towards everyone. All changed after you turned this it into a Lady Gaga fansite.

mrripley said...


SoSueMe said...

Cher looks just a wee-bit rusty in the acting dept...but I'm pulling for her nonetheless...and I really don't think Lady Gaga's talent will translate to acting (and I'm a huge fan).

And I vote Cher for Nancy Meyers' next on-screen leading lady. (I have a gay fanboy crush on Nancy Meyers right now - don't judge.)

Glenn said...

Cal Roth, I actually suspect Lady Gaga would make a terrible actress.

Bobby, Nathaniel has always had biases for/against people. You just haven't paid attention, obviously.


Bobby -- um. 13 posts have mentioned Lady Gaga and there are several posts a day here ;) Almost all of the GAGAs are link roundups. but you are right that i went a little Gaga bonkers this summer. i admit. It couldn't be helped really given THE WORLD DOMINATION. but i'll calm down... unless she stars in a movie.

for those keeping track -- and WHO WOULD? -- the number of mentions of pop divas on TFE is a strange strange hierarchy not entirely reflective of quality or my perspective on same but definitely reflective of #gaygaygay and it goes like so

according to "label" count.


over 15

over 10

over 5

under 5

only once? wha... maybe i forgot to label the posts


Glenn -- i suspect the same (re: Gaga)
and, please, everyone has biases about celebrities. they're called "opinions" People who don't admit that they are drawn to some entertainers more than others are big fat liars with pants on fire ;)

P.S. I do hope that Aguilera can act as the movie will require her to.

jimmy said...

the movie looks horrendous & i love Cher. stanley tucci is great - but every role he does is the suppporter-to-a-strong-woman. I hope Cher doesn't move into this bitchy/campy trend for the remaining movies she does ala joan crawford & bette davis. she's a very good actor - there are going to be occasional good roles for her like w mike nichols. she's made some bad film choices - turning down Thelma & Louise & The Adams Family. too bad.

SoSueMe said...

Nathaniel, how dare you not mention Kylie Minogue!:)

BTW, her new album Aphrodite is brilliant (with a little production help from the Scissor Sisters).