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Category: Burlesque

With 'Burlesque,' Christina Aguilera follows an undesirable pop-star path

November 29, 2010 |  7:00 am

Britney Spears flopped with "Crossroads." Mariah Carey bombed with "Glitter." And now, apparently,  things didn't exactly work out for Christina Aguilera and her movie of musicial becoming, "Burlesque."

Slotting a shiny pop star into a shiny pop movie must seem like the most logical idea in the world at the time that a director or producers comes up with it. But the box-office performance of the Aguilera-Cher movie this weekend once again proved it's not easy for a mega-selling singer to make the jump to acting.

After dreadful reviews that pummeled (among other things) Aguilera's acting, "Burlesque" opened to $17.2 million over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend -- not an unmitigated disaster, but hardly a blockbuster success either, especially considering the movie's marketing assault.

What is it about pop stars, particularly female ones, that has us loving them in our iPods but turning up our noses when they turn up on the big screen? I suppose you could say it's simply a matter of their skills not translating into a new medium. But history suggests otherwise; Doris Day was one of several stars from another era who went from musical stardom to big-screen fame.

Maybe, then, it's a question of not wanting to see a contemporary multi-platinum recording artist as an ingenue, as Carey was in her film and Aguilera was in this one. Or maybe we just find a singer playing a singer, as so many do in these contemporary films, just a little bit redundant. 

In fact, sometimes it seems as though the only time we truly like a pop star on the big screen is when said star is doing something very different from what made her famous. We eventually came to embrace Carey in "Precious," Madonna in "Evita" and even Cher herself once she left behind her early roles in light music movies and moved on to the likes of "Mask" and "Silkwood."

So maybe music stars can make a go of it on the big screen. But they need a certain amount of chops, a good role and a lot of discernment. Be very careful, Lady Gaga.

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Christina Aguilera in "Burlesque." Credit: Screen Gems


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Preview review: 'Burlesque,' Christina Aguilera's first (and last?) act

August 6, 2010 | 11:52 am

MV5BMTM1MTk3MzU4NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjEyNTM2Mw@@._V1._SX640_SY427_ In the last decade, pop divas haven't exactly had the best track record on the silver screen. Sure, there were some solid turns from Beyonce, but she's the exception. Miley Cyrus didn't bowl over critics with her performance in the Nicholas Sparks tear-jerker "The Last Song." Britney Spears made her big-screen debut (and swan song) with the road-trip classic "Crossroads." And before "Precious," Mariah Carey had (gulp) "Glitter" and "Tennessee."

Now it's Christina Aguilera's turn to show her skills, which she attempts to do in "Burlesque," a  star-is-born drama out in November from Screen Gems. The singer plays Ali, the prototypical small-town girl with starry eyes who buses herself all the way from Iowa to the Hollywood sign to fulfill her dreams of stardom. She starts waiting tables at a "neo-burlesque" club, run by the world-weary Tess (Cher). Ali tries to convince the lounge's owner that she has what it takes to be a part of the club's act, but Tess and her surly counterpart, Sean (Stanley Tucci), don't think she has the chops.

That is, until she gets on stage and belts out a song like — well, Christina Aguilera.

Judging by the trailer, the film looks like it's overflowing with camp and schmaltz — even if the pairing of Cher and Aguilera seems appealing. The story is basically preposterous, a la "Coyote Ugly": All a girl really wants in life is to wear very little and dance atop a bar! (Or in this case, wear very little and dance in a bar.) And the bits of dialogue we hear here are so hokey that we can't imagine taking the movie seriously.

"You gotta make me believe that you belong on that stage," Cher's character implores her protege. "That it's yours! And that nobody can take it from you. Now you wanna show me something? Show me that!"

She and Tucci do seem to have good chemistry. And one of the many doctors from "Grey's Anatomy" (Eric Dane) serves as a potential love interest, which is a plus, if only for the eye candy. But while we're looking forward to the song-and-dance numbers from Aguilera, her acting looks like it leaves a lot to be desired. She's trying so hard to be innocent as her character pleads with Cher, "Just tell me what you want!"

Probably not this.

— Amy Kaufman


Photo: Cher and Christina Aguilera star in "Burlesque." Credit: Screen Gems.

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