A brand new international trailer for Burlesque has pranced onto the internet, bursting at the bodice and swinging its tassels. It’s arrived in other words.
The film charts the highly coloured tale of Ali Rose (Christina Aguilera), a wide-eyed small town girl who moves to Los Angeles on a whim and ends up becoming a hit headliner on the burlesque stage. Club owner Tess (Cher – yep, she’s back) teaches Ali the moves, though soon discovers she already has the singing part covered. It looks daft and enjoyable, like a trip to the seaside in winter. Just nobody mention Showgirls. Opps.
Very plainly, ‘burlesque’ is risqué theatrical entertainment involving comedy, tease, dancing, singing and a great many fantastical costumes. This definition has altered considerably over the last 150 years or so. Burlesque as we know it today only really took off in the U.S. in the early 20th century. Essentially, more sex was added with less reliance on comedy or satire. In Victorian times, burlesque was a way of mocking period values. Presently it is considered more mainstream, though still scandalous enough to titillate.
Judging by this trailer we are going to be seeing a sanitised, pop friendly version of burlesque on screen. There’s Christine growling and Cher snipping one-liners, and both ladies are as false and exaggerated as burlesque itself.
Costumes for the film are by Michael Kaplan, one of the most experienced designers in Hollywood. With a back catalogue that includes Fight Club, Miami Vice (with Janty Yates), the Star Trek reboot and most recently The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, moving onto the grand flamboyance required for Burlesque seems like a perfectly natural, i.e. completely random, progression.
His creations are as bright, studded, corseted and sparkly as you might expect. Not overly camp, and the trailer works hard to draw our attention towards the heterosexual romance involving Ali at the story’s core. Again, this is mainstream fun, not a message movie – unless of course the message is mainstream fun. Remember too that a simple way to imply burlesque on film is with stockings and suspenders. If Burlesque does well, expect Christina Aguilera’s own line to appear on shelves very soon (along with her tie-in nail varnish already out there).
Taken for what it is, Burlesque could be a dizzy, energetic way to while away two hours. It is released on 24th November in the U.S. and 17th December in the UK. That gives everyone enough time to find something decent to wear on first night.
© 2010 – 2012, Christopher Laverty.