Burlesque: Making Legends

Burlesque: Making Legends

Static Mass Rating: 4/5

Release date: April 25th 2011

Certificate (UK): 15

Running time: 114 mins

Director: Steve Antin

Cast: Kristen Bell, Cam Gigandet, Stanley Tucci, Eric Dane, Cher, Alan Cumming, Christina Aguilera, Peter Gallagher

It’s been a while since Cher’s made a movie, but the Oscar winning actress returns after a 7 year hiatus to play a supporting role in Burlesque. It might not be as riveting as Moonstruck (1987), as entertaining as The Witches of Eastwick (1987) or as moving as my personal favourite, Mermaids (1990), but it does let her have centre stage to belt out a long overdue ballad.

In the film she plays Tess, the owner of a majestic but struggling Burlesque house in Los Angeles.


Snowed under with debt, Tess refuses to sell to entrepreneur Marcus (Eric Dane) who wants the site for a high-rise block of luxury apartments. In walks Ali Rose (Christina Aguilera), a small town girl with a big voice, looking for a job. Tess takes Ali on as a waitress and she gradually works her way from the floor to the stage as the main attraction.

Recognising she’s got talent; Tess becomes a surrogate mother to Ali, showing her the ropes while at the same time trying to keep the place from going under. Although Burlesque does its best to give the story a contemporary feel by mirroring the hard times a lot of small businesses are facing, its strength lies in its musical numbers, of which there are 8, including 2 by Cher; “Welcome to Burlesque” and the power ballad “You Haven’t Seen The Last Of Me”. Sadly though, the two vocal talents never go head-to-head or share the stage for a musical number which was something I was hoping for.


  • Director’s Commentary
  • Alternate Opening (6.08)
  • The Burlesque Lounge: Alternate Full Musical Performances!

- Guy Who Takes His Time (2.14)
- Long John Blues (2.59)
- Express (3.40)
- Jingle Berlin (1.47)
- Something’s Got a Hold of Me (2.23)
- That’s Life (2.59)

  • Blooper Reel (4.55)
  • Burlesque is Back! (3.09)
  • The Performers: The Cast of Burlesque (8.26)
  • Setting the Stage: Production Design & Performers (3.58)
  • Inside the Dressing Room: Creating the Burlesque Look (5.30)
  • The Set List: The Music & Choreography of Burlesque (10.33)

The supporting cast includes Alan Cumming as Alexis, the doorman. His character is very much in the vein of Joel Grey’s Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret (1972) but to a lesser degree in that he does not have any musical numbers. Stanley Tucci plays stage manager Sean although its becomes a little tiresome for the 1000th time to see gays portrayed as men who sleep with one another on a nameless basis and are unable to form lasting relationships. Cam Gigandet, probably best known for his role as James, the villainous vampire in Twilight (2008) plays Jack, the barman and aspiring musician who catches Ali’s eye. He serves as the man-candy in the film, complete with bowler hat and eye-liner.


But what would Burlesque be if there wasn’t some rivalry? For that we have Kristen Bell as Nikki, the spoilt bitch who had it all until Ali walked in and stole her thunder. This creates some tension between them, especially when Ali’s first words to her are that she looks like a dude! Tess certainly has a tough job as the mother hen trying to keep all her chicks in order.

Cher is wonderful in this role and seems perfectly suited to run a Burlesque house given her talents as a performer and ability over the decades to lead where others follow. No Oscar for this one, but it’s still worth seeing her light up the screen as she’s been doing since Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982).

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