Ali is, like so many before her, a girl with a dream of fame and fortune as a singer. She ditches her dead-end small-town life and hops on a bus to Los Angeles. She auditions as a singer in dozens of places, but she isn't taken seriously or given the time of day. Finally, she happens to pass a burlesque club, wanders into it, and becomes bewitched by the performance she sees on stage before her. She suddenly shifts his dream from becoming a singer to becoming one of the glamorous burlesque dancers at this club. She befriends instantly Jack, one of the bartenders at the club, who tries and fails to get her an audition. However, she refuses to leave, instead beginning to wait tables without being hired first, forcing the owner of the club, Tess, to admire her spunk and hire her to wait on the customers. While waiting tables, she studies and learns all of the songs and dance moves. Ali meanwhile lives at Jack's on his couch, thinking that he's gay, unaware that he is engaged to an actress. When she finds out, she wants to move out, but she has no place else to go, and he insists it's not a problem. One of the dancers at the club gets pregnant, so Tess holds auditions to look for her replacement. She is impressed with Ali's moves and singing ability, so she decides to let her dance in the background. This does not sit well with Nikki, the alcoholic diva star of the burlesque shows. It irritates Nikki even further when Marcus, a wealthy patron of the club and sometime-lover of Nikki, starts paying attention to Tess. One night, when Tess is too drunk to perform, Ali is allowed to go up and do the lead; Tess, in a rage, unplugs the track they perform to, and Ali, in a bit of improvisation, decides to sing live. This thrills the customers, and perhaps Tess most of all, who decides to make live singing the new standard in hopes of drawing in a new audience. However, the club is out of money, and unless Ali can help Tess convince Marcus or some other wealthy investor to put money into the club, then the lights on the burlesque will go out once and for all.
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Best part of story, including ending:
It's not especially good, and it's unabashedly corny, but there is something charming about a movie that fully commits to being as square as this movie is.
Best scene in story:
Aguilera is a natural talent at singing and dancing, so the big final number, in which Ali performs one of Jack's original compositions, really highlights her strong suits.
Opinion about the main character:
Ali is a stereotypical small-town girl in a big city with a big dream that no cynic can hold down. It's a cliche, but it's a good one, and Aguilera is wide-eyed enough to make it work.