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Burlesque (12a)

If the scripts for Chicago, Coyote Ugly, Dreamgirls, Glitter and Showgirls were put through a shredder, then taped back together with the musical cliches intact, you'd probably end up with Burlesque.

Clumsy, garish and permanently in danger of falling flat on its powdered face, Steve Antin's rags-to-riches fairytale can’t muster a single sequin of originality and borrows its glitzy song and dance numbers from the aforementioned gems of the genre, albeit with a nod to Cabaret.

Yet for all its many faults, which would consign any other film to the ignominy of straight-to-DVD, Burlesque might just be the best terrible film of the year.

Whether by a stroke of luck or design, Antin's girl power anthem is the most uproarious fun I've had in a cinema since Toy Story 3.

The cast appear to be having a hoot too. Christina Aguilera can sure belt out the songs wearing nothing more than a string of pearls and a smile, and the script caters shamelessly for female and gay audiences with each whooping contrivance.

Ali (Aguilera) works as a waitress in Iowa but secretly dreams of stardom beneath the glittering light of Los Angeles.

Strutting out of her trailer park wearing inappropriate white

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heels, Ali heads for the city where she stumbles upon the Burlesque cabaret bar run by ex-dancer Tess (Cher) and best friend Sean (Stanley Tucci), who looks after the costumes.

Before you can shake a feather boa, Ali is auditioning for a role as one of the dancing girls, where she inevitably riles current leading lady Nikki (Kristen Bell).

The soundtrack gets painted toes tapping and there's equal opportunity nudity with Gigandet hiding his blushes with a box of cookies during the centrepiece seduction scene.

A late-night cult classic is born.

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