Burlesque

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Burlesque Movie Poster Image
Sexy musical is forgettable despite talented stars.
  • PG-13
  • 2010
  • 119 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 26 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Amid the showy dancing and soapy drama are some positive messages: for example, that the road to success doesn’t necessarily need to be paved by the flattened souls you tread on while clambering to the top. Plus hard work trumps the easy way out, and loyalty matters.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Although many of the characters are broad caricatures, a few have more complexity. For instance, Ali and Tess both want to make the most of their talent without stepping on anyone else’s toes. Their determination and dogged work ethic help them reach their goals.

Violence

After a drunk woman insults her mentor, she's paid back by having a tire iron swung at her car window.

Sex

Lots of scenes of burlesque performers dancing suggestively in barely there costumes. A man walks around naked -- his backside is briefly visible -- to pique the interest of a woman he likes (even though he's still somewhat attached to his long-distance girlfriend). They’re shown kissing and lounging in bed under covers. Some references to a passionate one-night stand between friends. A character picks up a DJ at a party.

Language

Some swearing, including “ass,” “bitch,” “s--t," "prick," "a--hole," "hell," "damn," "goddamn," "crap," "oh my God," and one use of "f--k."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some social drinking at a nightclub. A dancer shows up at work drunk and is shown a few times trying to sneak a drink. Later, she drives while under the influence. A man gets sloshed at a party.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that singers Cher and Christina Aguilera star in this fairly sexy musical, which has lots of suggestive dancing and skimpy costumes, as well as a scene with a naked male backside, some kissing, and some under-covers snuggling. There's also some swearing (including "s--t" and one use of "f--k") and drinking (including a scene in which a character drives under the influence). But underlying all of the racy stuff are feel-good messages about small-town girls making good, nice guys finishing first, and being anything you want to be if you try.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written by128583a June 9, 2019
Adult Written byottlauretta July 19, 2018
Teen, 14 years old Written byCharlotte. S August 12, 2019

Love it

Really good music throughout and recommend for any musical and dance lover!
There is obviously a lot of provocative dance...hense the name *BURLESQUE* But it i... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byKylee_A April 20, 2013

Great movie, but a lot to do with sexual things

This is a great movie! Just a lot to do with sexual dancing and talking. There is a scene with X-tina and someone else making out for like 30 seconds. But other... Continue reading

What's the story?

After finally quitting her waitressing job and getting out of Dodge (aka Iowa), Ali (Christina Aguilera) lands in Los Angeles, where her plan to get a singing gig quickly goes nowhere. Then she finds the Burlesque Lounge, a popular but down-on-its-high-heels nightclub -- owner Tess (Cher) is juggling two mortgages and has creditors and a real estate shark (Eric Dane) breathing down her neck -- where burlesque is still a celebrated art. With the help of lead bartender, Jack (Cam Gigandet), Ali starts waiting tables there, but that's only temporary: Soon, she’s headlining the joint, charming Tess and her stage manager (Stanley Tucci), angering a rival singer (Kristen Bell), and falling in love. It’s all in a day’s work in the world of burlesque.

Is it any good?

How can something so good be so bad? That’s BURLESQUE. First, what works: Cher reminds us why we fell in love with her in movies like Mask and Moonstruck. Her performance is grounded and earthy, even though the look and feel of the movie is stylized and the story predictable. Tucci gives an able assist, too, in a Devil Wears Prada-like role (he does witty and supportive so well). Even Aguilera contributes; that voice simply won’t be denied.

But for a movie referencing one of the most successful musicals ever, Chicago, Burlesque is felled by an egregious oversight: the music. Except for perhaps for one or two numbers, the songs are forgettable and try too hard. What makes musicals work are impossible-to-resist songs that burrow into our subconscious. You can truss a movie up with glitzy lighting, over-the-top costumes, and a cameo by Alan Cumming (practically the patron saint of all things burlesque), but without great dialogue -- and you can tell a lot about a movie when its best line is “I will not be upstaged by some girl with mutant lungs!” -- a plot that satisfies, and lyrics and melodies that appeal, there’s no reason to come to the cabaret.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the art of burlesque. Does the film really explain what it is? How does it incorporate sexuality?

  • How does this movie compare to other musicals, both recent and long past?

  • What is it about the big city that beckons, at least in the movies, to small-town characters? What do they have that small towns apparently don’t? Do you think the media accurately portrays the difference between the two?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love musicals

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