Burlesque (12A)

Starring: Christina Aguilera, Cher
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The Independent Culture

Christina Aguilera plays a smalltown girl from Iowa coming to LA with – yes – dreams of making it in showbiz.

Her first stop, handily, is waitressing at a louche downtown joint, The Burlesque Lounge, where Cher is den mother and trout-pouter extraordinaire. The director Steven Antin appears to have set out with the intention of erasing any sex or sass: this must be the only burlesque show in town where you don't glimpse so much as a nipple. Instead of the camp buffoonery of Showgirls we get Aguilera storming to stardom on her big show-off vocals and Cher belting out a power ballad that makes Bette Midler's "Wind Beneath My Wings" look modest. Awful.