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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Burlesque

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

Though it features impressive singing from the hearty pipes of Christina Aguilera, the initially pleasant musical "Burlesque" (Screen Gems) ultimately mixes a few decadent set-pieces in the titular performing style with an implicit endorsement of contemporary mores offstage. The result, unfortunately, is an entertainment too sordid for recommendation.

Aguilera plays Ali, an Iowa farm girl who moves to Los Angeles hoping, like many, to see her name up in lights. While job hunting, she stumbles upon the Burlesque Lounge. There, she becomes entranced with the somewhat risque performances and—with the assistance of friendly bartender-cum-band-member Jack (Cam Gigandet)—she lands a waitressing gig.

Naturally, it's only a matter of time before Ali overcomes the initial skepticism of financially beleaguered club owner Tess (Cher)—who, as these things go, is on the verge of losing the club to creditors—and gets her chance to take to the spotlight. And of course, romantic sparks are bound to fly with Jack, his faraway fiancee notwithstanding.

What with Aguilera's character pleading for her one shot at the big time, and the bank ready to foreclose on Cher's dreams, writer-director Steven Antin's small-town-gal-makes-good showbiz celebration starts out feeling as though Andy Hardy and his friends had wandered onto the set of "Cabaret."

But a few of the showcased acts cross the line from saucy to salacious, the outcome of the love interest winds up glamorizing an unwedded encounter and an incidental gay relationship involving stage manager Sean (Stanley Tucci) is treated as just another amorous alternative.

Additionally, a plotline about the prenuptial pregnancy of one of Ali's colleagues leads to an exchange, which can be interpreted as Tess offering to support her distraught employee should she opt to destroy the child.

The film contains a benign view of premarital sex and homosexuality, possible acceptance of abortion, an out-of-wedlock pregnancy, fleeting rear nudity, often suggestive and briefly obscene dancing, several uses of profanity and one rough and some crude and crass terms. The Catholic News Service classification is O—morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.



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Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang and Companions: This first native Korean priest was the son of Korean converts. His father, Ignatius Kim, was martyred during the persecution of 1839 and was beatified in 1925. After Baptism at the age of 15, Andrew traveled 1,300 miles to the seminary in Macao, China. After six years he managed to return to his country through Manchuria. That same year he crossed the Yellow Sea to Shanghai and was ordained a priest. Back home again, he was assigned to arrange for more missionaries to enter by a water route that would elude the border patrol. He was arrested, tortured and finally beheaded at the Han River near Seoul, the capital. Paul Chong Hasang was a lay apostle and married man, aged 45. 
<p>Christianity came to Korea during the Japanese invasion in 1592 when some Koreans were baptized, probably by Christian Japanese soldiers. Evangelization was difficult because Korea refused all contact with the outside world except for bringing taxes to Beijing annually. On one of these occasions, around 1777, Christian literature obtained from Jesuits in China led educated Korean Christians to study. A home Church began. When a Chinese priest managed to enter secretly a dozen years later, he found 4,000 Catholics, none of whom had ever seen a priest. Seven years later there were 10,000 Catholics. Religious freedom came in 1883. </p><p>When Pope John Paul II visited Korea in 1984 he canonized, besides Andrew and Paul, 98 Koreans and three French missionaries who had been martyred between 1839 and 1867. Among them were bishops and priests, but for the most part they were lay persons: 47 women, 45 men. </p><p>Among the martyrs in 1839 was Columba Kim, an unmarried woman of 26. She was put in prison, pierced with hot tools and seared with burning coals. She and her sister Agnes were disrobed and kept for two days in a cell with condemned criminals, but were not molested. After Columba complained about the indignity, no more women were subjected to it. The two were beheaded. A boy of 13, Peter Ryou, had his flesh so badly torn that he could pull off pieces and throw them at the judges. He was killed by strangulation. Protase Chong, a 41-year-old noble, apostatized under torture and was freed. Later he came back, confessed his faith and was tortured to death. </p><p>Today, there are almost 5.1 million Catholics in Korea.</p> American Catholic Blog We never think of connecting violence with our tongues. But the first weapon, the most cruel weapon, is the tongue. Examine what part your tongue has played in creating peace or violence. We can really wound a person, we can kill a person, with our tongue.

 
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