As soon as she opens her mouth, the movie is over

I love Cher. And I wish Christina Aguilera all the best -- yo, Staten Island! I also love Diablo Cody, Kristen Bell, Stanley Tucci, Alan Cumming and anything with sequins and fringe. But despite the fact that I have to be the target market for this movie, I am not going to see Burlesque on opening weekend. And possibly, not at all.

I am the target market. But I've seen the trailer a few times and things don't look good. In the trailer, a plucky young ingenue heads to Los Angeles. She tries to get a job singing at a club. Cher, the club manager, blows her off. The plucky young ingenue gets onstage anyway. She's played by Christina Aguilera, so as soon as she opens her mouth, Cher is impressed. The girl gets the job and the movie is over. That's beginning, middle and end, right there in the trailer -- but not a compelling narrative filled with obstacles, conflict and stakes.

This is a problem with the entire awesomely-talented-but-somehow-still-struggling performer genre. It's one of the reasons many reviewers found
Secretariat a bore. If you never saw the actual horse win the Belmont Stakes, watch the video now. For two minutes and twenty-four seconds, it's a gas. But who wants to watch the run-up to that race for two hours? I am also the target market for every horsey movie out there, but I still haven't seen Secretariat. The horse won the race in stunning fashion, but not in dramatically compelling fashion. Secretariat was an amazing horse with previous victories and terrific bloodlines from a successful stable. Everyone knew he was going to win the Belmont Stakes. A few other horses entered because money was on the line for place and show, but we're not talking real obstacles. To make this story dramatic, one would have to saddle the poor horsey with a drug or alcohol problem, an abusive stable mate or recurring nightmares of childhood trauma -- you know, the stuff we writers shove in such movies to make the stories of extraordinary talent rewarded slightly more compelling.

Perhaps there are real obstacles in
Burlesque. There are none evident in the trailer, which seems to include the entire film. I hope this is another case of a marketing department screw-up and that the movie revolves around a different set of events never hinted at in the trailer. But I am dubious, and I will wait to see. Unfortunately, that might mean the film is gone from theaters before I make up my mind.

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