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So wrong, yet it feels so right. Take a look back at the good, the bad, and the ugly of "Burlesque" and relive Christina Aguilera's monstrous performance.

‘Burlesque’ is a disaster no matter how much we love Christina Aguilera

Xtina has grown up since her days with Mickey Mouse. The former Disney star Christina Aguilera has done a lot with her career, and even though she turns forty today, she doesn’t look a day over twenty-one. But even with a career as diverse as Xtina’s, there have been some skidmarks. For Christina Aguilera, that’s Burlesque.

The 2010 film Burlesque features Christina Aguilera as Ali, a waitress who quits her job and becomes a burlesque club dancer through a bunch of coincidences. Featuring Cher as Tess, the club owner, Kristen Bell as Nikki, a rival dancer, and Cam Gigandet as Jack, Ali’s love interest, the film was met with mixed reviews at its debut.

A story of coincidences

If breadcrumbs could create a script, they’d create Burlesque. Ali falls her way into each situation by some random coincidence. The only reason Ali finds out about the club is because she hears the music one night from outside. Ali doesn’t become a dancer until another dancer leaves after becoming pregnant. 

Ali doesn’t even get the lead dancer position intentionally – she gets it because Nikki’s attempt to sabotage Ali’s routine to prove to Tess that Ali sucks goes awry. Nothing in Burlesque is connected together in a cohesive fashion – it’s just a red string the viewer follows hoping there’s some kind of satisfying ending.

Does this conclusion sound satisfying: Christina Aguilera sings the song her boyfriend wrote & hid from her the entire movie? If yes, then maybe you’d enjoy Burlesque. For everyone else who saw this ending coming from a mile away once it’s revealed Jack’s a songwriter, you’re one of the few who understands why this movie is bad. 

Good singers can’t sing everything

We’re not going to deny Christina Aguilera has some pipes. Cher’s also an extremely talented singer. The majority of the cast of Burlesque is vocally talented, Christina Aguilera most of all. So why does the soundtrack for the movie sound quite awful?

Burlesque features songs penned by talented artists like Diane Warren, Etta Jones, Sia, and Claude Kelly, to name a few. Yet the soundtrack comes off as a garbled mess. Even Christina Aguilera & Cher aren’t at their best vocally, partially because both stars are pop singers, and Burlesque is heavily jazz-based. 

If there were only one or two musical numbers, this could be overlooked. But with a ten-song soundtrack, Burlesque suffers due to the lackluster singing performances. With such talent on the cast, it’s really a shame they couldn’t work to make a more pop-oriented soundtrack.

Camp on camp on camp

For a movie all about burlesque shows, you’d expect Burlesque to be a bit more scandalous. Yet Burlesque comes across as extremely tame in comparison to the burlesque shows of the 90s. While part of this can be blamed on Burlesque’s tame PG-13 rating, it still had the ability to be more on point with the material. 

Burlesque may not have been able to feature the amount of nudity modern burlesque shows use due to its rating. However, at the center of it, burlesque shows are essentially a sexier cabaret show. Featuring extravagant costumes, plenty of stripteases, and a bit of comedy, burlesque shows are the definition of extra.

Yet even with an outstanding performance from Christina Aguilera, Burlesque fails to capture the magic of these shows. The costumes are mediocre at best. The performances focus too much on Aguilera’s performance. The dances could be sexier. When you watch Burlesque, you’re left wanting more out of the entire movie. 

See a drag show instead

If you’re really that in love with Christina Aguilera, then you probably will enjoy Burlesque no matter what. But if you’re just looking for something based around burlesque shows, why not support your local drag community instead?

When burlesque made its return to the U.S. in the 90s, oftentimes it was tied to drag shows. Now, burlesque & drag are two different types of performing, but the two share a lot of similarities. Some drag queens even perform a burlesque routine as part of their performance style. 

Don’t give any more money to Burlesque. Instead, support your local drag community & see the much better content these stars are creating instead.

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  • Rule No. 1 of reviewing a film: You have to let the movie be what it wants to be. This isn’t a film that set out to be Citizen Kane, nor is it even trying to be a musical in the style of Grease. It’s a vehicle for Christina, nothing more, nothing less. With its inclusion of Cher, you’d be foolish not to expect two hours of mindless camp fun.

    Yes, the plot is thin. Yes, the “burlesque” isn’t real burlesque (spoiler: the blood in horror movies isn’t real either), but Burlesque isn’t trying to be a documentary. It’s meant to be a cheeky bit of fun.

    December 22, 2020
    • True!

      August 19, 2021
  • Thank you! I’m so tired of film critics ruining my favorite movies because they aren’t timeless masterpieces. Like give us normal people a break, yea?
    I love Christina Aguilera, Cher, Stanley Gucci, and beautiful women who are talented. So burlesque was right up my alley.

    April 17, 2022
    • Tucci* damn autocorrect

      April 17, 2022

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