Stephen Vaughan
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November 17, 2010 at 05:00 AM EST
We gave it a C-

STARRING Cher, Christina Aguilera, Kristen Bell, Stanley Tucci, Alan Cumming
WRITTEN BY Steven Antin
DIRECTED BY Steven Antin

White a sequin-studded musical about an L.A. burlesque club would initially seem like the perfect vehicle for Cher, the star actually turned down Burlesque a number of times. ”You don’t want to do [a movie] unless you read a script and go, ‘I love this,”’ explains the 64-year-old singer-actress, whose last film was the Farrelly brothers’ 2003 comedy Stuck on You. ”In the beginning, I just didn’t see potential for me in it.” But eventually she was won over by aggressive pitching from Screen Gems president Clint Culpepper and first-time feature director Steven Antin (not to mention Cher pal David Geffen, who had seen the script). ”We ambushed her on the Sony lot,” recalls Antin.

With a few script tweaks by yet another Cher pal, Moonstruck writer John Patrick Shanley, the icon signed on to play Tess, a club owner coping with volatile leading lady Nikki (Kristen Bell) while mentoring newcomer Ali (Christina Aguilera, in her film debut). Burlesque features a mix of old and new tunes, including a new Diane Warren-penned number for Cher called ”You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me.” ”I have a fight with [Nikki] where I finally say, ‘Your problems are nothing compared to mine, and I’m tired of babysitting you,”’ says Cher. ”Then I down a couple of drinks and I’m walking. It could only happen in a musical where you just start to sing out the story line. But Diane did a great job. It’s one of those gigantic power ballads.”

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