There is, according to Burlesque, a nightclub on the Sunset Strip that looks like a blend of Cabaret and Moulin Rouge and employs a full contingent of dancers and musicians in the service of a neo-retro-burlesque-blues program. Presiding over the craziness within is Tess, a grande dame who also performs occasionally and who could only, under these circumstances, be played by Cher. Entering the scene is a young leather-lunged hopeful from Iowa named Ali, played by Christina Aguilera in her movie-acting debut. The vibe of this glitzy concoction is more Flashdancethan Showgirls, despite prerelease predictions that the film would be a campfest of epic proportions. In fact, it's more cornball than trashy. Ali hits most of the clichés of the genre: defying Tess's skepticism by proving her mettle during an impromptu stage number; flirting with the nice-guy bartender whose home she shares for a while, in a purely platonic way, of course, just until she gets her feet on the ground; and keeping a wary eye on the high roller who wants to possess her, because, you see, he takes whatever he likes. And did we mention that Tess is facing foreclosure on the club in a month's time?
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