A nightclub owner mentors a young dancer. With Cher, Christina Aguilera. Director: Steve Antin (1:54). PG-13: Sexuality, language, partial nudity. At area theaters.
How bad does “Burlesque” want to be? After all, any movie that opens with jazz hands, stripper heels and an ambitious ingénue walking out on her waitressing job can’t possibly be aiming for originality. And at first, it seems that director Steve Antin is in on his own joke, playing up the clichés and campiness for all they’re worth. But as the movie drags on — and on — we start to wonder: Did he actually set out to make another “Showgirls”? Or was he really hoping to hit the big time?
Though any Oscar winner with Cher’s tenacity and talent deserves better, she and Tucci are smart enough to embrace their outlandish surroundings. Everyone else plays things painfully straight, so while Aguilera doesn’t embarrass herself in her feature debut, she doesn’t shine, either.