Burlesque came in fourth at the box office this weekend, behind more family-friendly fare like Harry Potter, Tangled and Megamind. Where did Cher and Christina go wrong?
While the movie was a fun romp full of sequins and singing — my mom and I enjoyed the eye-candy mindlessness of it, anyway — the general consensus seems to be that it did not accurately depict burlesque. Maybe because the director, Steve Antin, is the brother of Pussycat Dolls founder Robin Antin (and celebrity hairstylist Jonathan Antin), there was a very glossy Hollywood version of burlesque on display.
As burlesque performer Stormy Leather tells the New York Daily News : "The sets and costume were beautiful. But you could have called it anything else besides burlesque. Burlesque is sexual comedy… It wasn't clever; they were just looking sexy in their underwear."
Performer Anita Cookie complains to The Frisky: "It's a cabaret show! If they had called it Cabaret instead of Burlesque, it would have been fine." Clams Casino chimes in: "They don't have stage names! The character is so important to burlesque and I think the stage name is really important to burlesque. This movie has nothing to do with burlesque."
As a person who has seen one or two burlesque shows, one thing that stood out was the homogenity of the bodies on display. Anita Cookie agrees: "There was no body diversity. We've got big boobs, little boobs, big butts, small butts."
In an interesting piece from the Calgary Herald, a performer called Roxie Floggings swears burlesque saved her life: "I was an overweight teenager and I was ridiculed for it all my life. I never felt comfortable in my own skin. Burlesque encouraged me to embrace who I am along with a group of powerful and strong women. I can't tell you how my confidence has exploded."
That story would make a great movie! But a very different film from the one which opened on Thanksgiving.
'Burlesque,' Starring Christina Aguilera, Is No Strip Tease, Say New York's Real Burlesque Stars [NYDN]
Calgary's Garter Girls Get Feisty About Burlesque [Calgary Herald]
What Actual Burlesque Stars Think Of The Movie "Burlesque" [The Frisky]