#81 | Burlesque 2: Season of the Bitch
Listen to our Burlesque episode on:
- Google Play
- Player FM
- Pocket Casts
Long time listeners will be aware that Cher holds a special place in our hearts here at Beyond The Box Set. A consummate all-round entertainer, she made the transition from pop diva to movie star look effortless with her performances in movies like Silkwood, Mermaids, Moonstruck and The Witches of Eastwick. You can well imagine that Christina Aguilera, a decade into her own career, looked to Cher’s career as a road map when she signed up to star alongside the senior diva in Burlesque.
The problem – one of many to afflict the bizarre train wreck that is this movie – is that Christina Aguilera cannot act. Not that Burlesque gives her many opportunities – it’s hard to imagine any actress could have done much with the entitled, one-note character of Ali Rose – but even the most basic expressions of emotion or characterisation seem completely beyond the singer, who wears an expression of vague confusion in every scene where she’s not given the opportunity to bellow show tunes at an alarming volume.
There is a lot of talent to be found elsewhere in Burlesque. Stanley Tucci basically reprises his role from The Devil Wears Prada as a catty stage manager, Kristen Bell has great fun as the spoilt diva Nikki and Cher manages to make even the worst dialogue the movie throws at her sound vaguely plausible. There’s a version of this cast that made a genuinely great Hollywood musical. Unfortunately, this one isn’t it – but its legacy is destined to live on in Drag Queen revues and bad movie screenings for the rest of time. If you’re going to fail, you might as well do it spectacularly.
We had a *lot* to unpack with this movie, and we felt we couldn’t possibly take it on alone. So for this very special episode we’re joined by not one, but two Beyond The Box Set all-stars. Oli Ajulo, last seen in our Black Swan episode, and Louise Ball, who you may remember from our Garden State episode. Together we make a doomed attempt to make sense of the plot, timescale and financials of this movie, before pairing off to pitch our own sequel ideas.
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Next week, we’ll be dipping into the Coen Brothers catalogue for the very first time for a discussion of one of their most iconic and quotable movies. Until then… happy listening and WAGON WHEEL WATUSI!