“Dumb”struck

I’m always loath to judge any proverbial book by its cover, but sometimes even a 2 1/2 minute trailer for a film is a gift from the comedy gods.

Never a fan of her as Pop-tart banshee (there doesn’t seem to be a chromatic scale she’s too afraid to attempt, and the girl knows nada restraint – poor poor pitiful me), Christina Aguilera’s thespian skills showcased in the trailer for the new “musical” BURLESQUE makes Mariah Carey in GLITTER look like Meryl Streep MAMMA MIA! notwithstanding (though, to be fair, not nearly as hilariously inept as any take-your-pick Janet Jackson or Whitney Houston cinematic monstrosity.) Cher’s plastic surgery uber-alles has her resembling ROCKY DENNIS in MASK more than her original RUSTY – you can barely see her lips move, and when they do, you’re spit-taking at her air-quirts-out-of-a-blow-hole line reading of some of the most inane dialogue since SHOWGIRLS:

Xtina: “Hold on a second, I could do this!”

Cher: “And it’s sweet that you think so…”

Xtina: “Just tell me what you want!”

Cher: “I can’t TELL you! Nobody can TELL you! You gotta make me believe that you BELONG on that stage, that it’s yours, that nobody can take it from you! Now if you wanna show me something, show me that!”

Nope. I did not make that up.  Nor this one:

Cher to Xtina: “When you are putting on your makeup, it’s like you’re an artist. But instead of painting on canvas, your painting a face!”

Really.

And poor Stanley Tucci. As that man gets sexier and studlier (and hotter) the more he ages, this wonderful actor is, of late, monumentally wasted in flick after flick,  forever relegated to the quip-ready, acerbic sidekick. E.g.:

Tucci: What’s ‘Ali’ short for?

Xtina: Alice.

Tucci: Alice? Well, welcome to wonderland.

Are the screenwriters (yes, that’s plural – there are three of them) serious with this dialogue, punking us, or are they merely aiming for a camp-classic hierarchy a la the aforementioned SHOWGIRLS?

One of the writers is also the director, former-actor Steve Antin. As a director, Antin helmed a few of my favorites late 80s/early 90s projects – starring one of my all-time favorite comic masters, Sandra Bernhard – her 1992 HBO SANDRA AFTER DARK special, and the film version of her classic one-woman stage show, WITHOUT YOU I’M NOTHING.

As an actor, he was one of Jodie Foster’s rapists in the controversial, if over-melodramatic THE ACCUSED, one of the leads in the early 80s teen-sex comedy THE LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN (he played Man-ho Rick),  as well as a major role in THE GOONIES; he portrayed a detective in an arc on TVs  NYPD BLUE, and in the heart-wrenching AIDS film IT’S MY PARTY. His acting credits are prodigious and go as far back as 1982.

He’s the brother of Jonathan Antin, celebrity stylist and star of the 2004-2005 Bravo reality show BLOW OUT. He’s also (one of) David Geffen’s ex-boyfriend(s).

This spastic, scattered and staccato trailer aside, I mention his protracted and impressive resume behind and in front of the camera because, for better or worse, I was more than willing to give Antin the benefit of the doubt.

But then I saw this on his resume as Executive Producer…

…and all bets were off (his brother Robin founded – and thus the man responsible for – the PCD skankapalooza).   The film also stars a Who’s Who of Huh? casting:  Alan Cummings, Eric Dance, Kristen Bell, Peter Gallagher, and Cam Gigandet  – I have no idea who he is either, so don’t ask.

Okay, okay, I understand – the film might well turn out to be a musical masterpiece.  Christina’s best lines might be better showcased when not taken out of (such gloriously daffy) context.  And, you are correct – I shouldn’t prejudge the film as a whole based on 180 seconds of unmitigated, unintentional hilarity.  But this trailer makes it so friggin’ easy.

It opens November 24th.

The gays will be lining up at midnight.

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