Film / Burlesque

A 2010 musical film written and directed by Steven Antin, starring Cher and Christina Aguilera.

The Burlesque Lounge has its best days behind it, and club owner Tess is struggling to keep the place afloat. Meanwhile, new waitress Ali is a small town girl who's just moved to L.A. to fufill her dreams of becoming a star. The last thing Tess needs is a pushy upstart with no technical experience at dance making a fuss, and the last thing Ali needs is a hard-ass boss who dismisses her out of hand. Luckily both are very determined at getting what they want...

Torn apart hilariously (with plenty of Cliché Storm Lampshade Hanging and other troperiffic hijinks!) by Diva in Musical Hell on November 2, 2015 (watch here).

This film contains examples of:

  • And Now For Something Completely Different: In a movie about Burlesque songs and dance numbers, Cher's Award-Bait Song, sung alone on stage with no choreography whatsoever, feels incredibly out of place.
    • Which may have been the intention. The idea could have been to contrast the glossy choreographed acts that happen in a full house, to her singing with no costume or make-up, on the stage after everyone's gone (with the plot excuse being that she needs to practice it before it's performed). Or not. It's difficult to figure out what is done intentionally and what isn't in this movie.
  • Ascended Fangirl: Ali.
  • Break the Haughty: In addition to her car window with a crowbar.
  • Burlesque: Obviously.
  • Camp Gay: Sean.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Air rights.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Christina Aguilera: The Musical. Need I say more?
  • Disposable FiancÚ: Natalie. Inevitable, really.
    • May share the spot for Alpha Bitch with Nikki considering what we learn about her.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Most of the cast at least want to be, but the standouts are Stanley Tucci as Sean and Alan Cumming as Alexis.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Marcus. Ali does slowly warm up to him, but she remains cautious (and very uncomfortable about his relationship with Nikki, when all of a sudden they are Just Friends).
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Jack gets drunk after he breaks up with Natalie. It's obviously painful for him to end things, but he is also now free to pursue Ali, so letting go of his old relationship isn't too painful.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Ali knows what she wants and isn't shy about doing everything possible to get it in a manner that borders on Determinator. She knows that she wants to be on stage at Burlesque and is insanely determined to get there, forcing Tess to watch her audition and then alternately browbeating and pleading with her until she gets the job. And then she's just as bloody-minded about practicing to be the best she can be.
  • Expy: In Todd in the Shadows' review, he noted that Stanley Tucci is basically playing the same character he did in The Devil Wears Prada.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Tess after spending all afternoon being condescended to by a bank manager. Admittedly not an entirely unsympathetic circumstance.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Tess and Sean.
  • Lady Drunk: Nikki has the still-youthful appearance of a Hard-Drinking Party Girl, but her personality is this all the way.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Should be expected, given the film's title and plot.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Jack. Oh, Jack.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Ali thought Jack was gay at first. Becomes a Brick Joke.
  • Morning Sickness: Tess finds Georgia in the bathroom stall throwing up, revealing she's pregnant and will have to temporarily give up dancing at the club. She complains about the name being inaccurate, considering "it hits you at every freaking moment of the day".
  • Na´ve Newcomer: Ali is enthusiastic but doesn't at first know how the big city or the business works. Lampshaded when Tess tells her "you won't be the new girl forever".
  • Product Placement: Famous Amos, rather prominently in one scene.
  • Romantic False Lead: Marcus and Natalie.
  • Sugar and Ice Personality: Tess. Nikki somewhat by the end.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: Jack's big re-discovery of composition, the music he has been working on and so afraid to show everyone is...a new dance-style Burlesque introduction number that is mostly just spoken-word repetition and percussion which has no purpose aside from showing off the Burlesque girls with a new expensive stage? Riiiiight. Well, now we know why he thought his career as a composer was a dead end.
  • Team Mom/Team Dad: Sean and Tess - but not in the way you'd first assume. Tess is the disciplinarian, the one who calls the shots and keeps the club going, making her better fit the Team Dad role. While Sean is the one to fuss over the girls and support them, making him more like a Team Mom.
  • Team Prima Donna: Nikki fancies herself as the Alpha Bitch of the dancers, and expects to often show up late or drunk to work without consequence.
  • Tears of Joy: After Nikki cuts the music and Ali sings for the first time, she is quite literally crying with joy backstage after Tess says that she's going to build a show around her.
  • Technician vs. Performer: When Ali auditions for Tess, even though Tess admits that they have access to far better dancers, Ali puts all her heart into dancing and is clearly loving being on stage despite her lack of technique. She works hard and her dancing noticeably improves as well.
  • True Companions: Subverted with the people from the first. Jack claims that everyone looks out for each other, but Ali is quick to contradict him. However, he is actually right, as is proven over the course of the movie. Tess is fiercely loyal to her employees and will take care of them no matter what, even letting Nicki back in after she really deserved to be kicked to the curb with a very sharp-toed boot, and despite the squabbling backstage, once you're in, you are basically family with all the bad and the good that that entails at one point one of the girls gets married and the rest of the girls are her bridesmaids. Learning to become part of this extended family is part of Ali's character arc.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Ali and Jack so much. It turns into Belligerent Sexual Tension when Ali starts to spend time with Marcus, cautiously warming up to him.
  • Welcome to the Big City: Ali has trouble finding work and her motel room is robbed including all her money when she first arrives in Los Angeles.