Withering Glance: There's no dancing around the Botox

  • Article by: RICK NELSON and CLAUDE PECK , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 4, 2010 - 1:33 PM

Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.

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Stanley Tucci and Cher in "Burlesque."

Photo: Stephen Vaughan, Screen Gems

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Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.

RN: Oy, "Burlesque." Where to begin?

CP: Start with the screenplay, which should have been stamped "Burn This."

RN: It doesn't stink up the cineplex quite as much as "Showgirls," thankfully. I think the great goddess Cher had it stipulated in her contract that she would recite the inane dialogue only if she were photographed in near-darkness.

CP: In movies now a quarter-century old, Cher proved her great acting chops. Sadly, the "Burlesque" formula froze her dramatic talent as surely as Botox has paralyzed much of her famous visage. My God, the diva, at 63, has four lips.

RN: The lipstick budget was bested only by the wig budget. Still, Ms. Sarkisian can deliver a song, even the paltry two she was handed here. And she can toss off a cutting barb. Like when dancer/shrew Kristen Bell shrieks, "I quit," and Cher, the burlesque club's owner/Mother Superior, deadpans, "I'm glad."

CP: But then the former Mrs. Bono must utter things like "maybe you can learn from my mistakes."

RN: Sick-making, kind of like the choreography. I hope the Fosse estate is suing for theft. The only two actors who kept their shirts on were Eric Dane -- which is a tragedy -- and Alan Cumming -- which isn't.

CP: This movie confirmed my belief that when Cumming emerged from the womb 45 years ago, he was wearing a sheer top, a bowler hat and heavy eyeliner. His 75 seconds of screen time were simply unforgettable.

RN: Stanley Tucci got a few more lines, even if he was essentially playing the same world-weary gay he nailed in "The Devil Wears Prada." At least this time he gets laid. My favorite moment was when the hottie bartender got caught wearing nothing but a strategically placed package of Famous Amos cookies. Hello, product placement!

CP: We have hardly mentioned Christina Aguilera, dissed by her dance-hall rival as "some slut with mutant lungs." This musical is pretty much Starship Christina.

RN: What a coincidence, as she is the film's executive music producer.

CP: As a singer/actor, she did pretty well, I thought, but it appears her dance numbers each involved about 12,000 edits. Will she become a Hollywood hot ticket?

 

RN: I dunno. She's got a killer set of rafter-rumbling pipes, but, like the rest of the flick, she comes off about an inch deep. Couldn't her character have had a flaw, other than naked ambition? She was like Mother Teresa in fishnets.

CP: I dunno. I liked that she wasn't weighed down with clichés -- pills, booze, evil stage mom, kleptomania.

RN: In other words, your life story.

E-mail: witheringglance@startribune.com. Become a friend of Withering Glance on Facebook.

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