Happy New Year everybody! Hope everybody had a great weekend.
The Wife & I celebrated New Year’s Eve at Farrelli’s Cinema Supper Club, where we caught up with Burlesque.
It’s the story of small-town girl Chrsitina Aguilera, who runs off to make it big in L.A., & finds herself performing at a glitzy but financially struggling burlesque club downtown. Cher is the owner & manager, abetted by gay BFF Stanley Tucci, playing almost exactly the same character he did in The Devil Wears Prada.
A standard backstage-musical template ensues. The first number that Aguilera sees at the club, performed by Cher, is called “Welcome to Burlesque,”& it’s highly promising. But most of the other numbers belong to Aguilera, & while there’s no denying her vocal power, her Star-Search/air-raid-siren singing style isn’t really my cup of tea.
Even so, I liked this corny, unabashedly derivative movie. The staging of the numbers, by writer-director Steven Antin, is playfully ridiculous, Aguilera is good, friendly company, & so are Tucci, Cam Gigandet, Kristen Bell, Eric Dane & Peter Gallagher. So, briefly, is Alan Cumming, who, like Tucci, has seemingly been called upon to recreate an earlier triumph—in Cumming’s case, a thinly-veiled retread of his Master of Ceremonies in the 1998 Sam Mendes staging of Cabaret.
Above all, I liked Burlesque because Cher is in it. The movie could use more of her—she only performs two numbers—but the strange sensibility she projects, equal parts wry cynicism & heartfelt passion, is amusing here just as it was in her masterpiece Moonstruck.
RIPs to beautiful Anne Francis, passed on at 80 just a month after her Forbidden Planet costar Leslie Nielsen, & to the superb Pete Postlewaite, passed on way too young at 64. Postlewaite should have given us decades more performances; he just recently cast an evil spell with his small but key role in The Town.
By the way, The Hollywood Reporter initially noted that, for her role in Honey West, Francis received a “Golden Glove.” Well, she certainly was a knockout…