REVIEW: Burlesque

4 08 2011

For this to be nominated for Best Picture at the Golden Globes, you KNOW there had to be some sort of bribery going on.  For all the glitz and glamour, “Burlesque” is one heck of a dud.  And just because that dud is coated in more glitter than a Ke$ha concert doesn’t make it entertaining or even watchable.  At a bloated nearly two hour runtime, this melodramatic musical makes “Mamma Mia!” look like a classic.

Adding together two musical superstars from different generations like Cher and Christina Aguilera seems like a combination that would produce some fireworks – or at least some cross-generational appeal.  However, it’s just dreadful to watch as their diva attitudes aren’t left behind in the trailer and a contempt beyond something written in the script for their characters.  Cher exudes an unlikable uptightness that’s about as rigid as her plastic face, and Christina Aguilera in her acting debut really can’t act unless she’s emanating a disdainful superiority.  For a novice actress, she really has a lot of guts acting like she’s better than her humble-roots character.

The rest of the movie is better than them, but that’s not saying much.  Cam Gigandet’s ambiguously sexual character is just plain annoying, and Kristen Bell’s entitled prima donna just makes a case for why she should stay in romantic comedies (that’s nt a compliment).  Meanwhile, Julianne Hough’s role is hardly impressive and doesn’t give the country star the big mainstream break she deserves.  Stanley Tucci is alright though, but he’s always good so that doesn’t really count.  Diane Warren’s musical numbers are pretty colorless, and with the exception of the titular final number, there’s nothing worth listening to again.  So skip this strip unless you need to be convinced that the New Wave of American Musical on screen is in its death throes.  C- / 

Random Factoid #510

20 12 2010

Shocked by the Golden Globe nominations?  Most people were by the comedy category, which included double-dip Best Actor nominee Johnny Depp and Best Picture nominees “Alice in Wonderland,” “Burlesque,” and “The Tourist” – all of which were widely panned by critics.

A lot of people didn’t look much into it, knowing that the HFPA (the voting body) loves a good flashy musical, celebrities, and box office money.  Basically, have a musical number in your movie and you have a Best Picture nomination – “Nine,” “Mamma Mia,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Across the Universe,” and many more stand as a testament.

But what you might not know is how the group can almost literally be bought.  Here’s a report from Cinematical that could very well have your jaw on the floor:

“Sony Pictures flew members of the HFPA to Las Vegas for a last minute pitch for ‘Burlesque’ (put out by their Screen Gems division). The package included ‘luxury hotel accommodations, free meals and a private concert performed by the film’s star, Cher.’ The film then went on to receive three Golden Globe nominations including the aforementioned Best Picture nod and two for Best Original Song, one of them performed in the film by … Cher.”

For those keeping score at home, that’s as many nominations as “127 Hours” and three more than “True Grit.”  I don’t know how qualified I am to make a judgment call on this because for all I know, this could be standard in the industry during awards season.  But out of any sort of context, it seems a sort of cruel bribery that enough money and glitter can buy a Best Picture nomination, bringing more people to the theater.

So, does this make you trust the Globes less?  Bemoan them all the more?  Clap louder when “The Kids Are All Right” inevitably triumphs?