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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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Maria Goretti: One of the largest crowds ever assembled for a canonization—250,000—symbolized the reaction of millions touched by the simple story of Maria Goretti. 
<p>She was the daughter of a poor Italian tenant farmer, had no chance to go to school, never learned to read or write. When she made her First Communion not long before her death at age 12, she was one of the larger and somewhat backward members of the class. </p><p>On a hot afternoon in July, Maria was sitting at the top of the stairs of her house, mending a shirt. She was not quite 12 years old, but physically mature. A cart stopped outside, and a neighbor, Alessandro, 18 years old, ran up the stairs. He seized her and pulled her into a bedroom. She struggled and tried to call for help. “No, God does not wish it," she cried out. "It is a sin. You would go to hell for it.” Alessandro began striking at her blindly with a long dagger. </p><p>She was taken to a hospital. Her last hours were marked by the usual simple compassion of the good—concern about where her mother would sleep, forgiveness of her murderer (she had been in fear of him, but did not say anything lest she cause trouble to his family) and her devout welcoming of Viaticum, her last Holy Communion. She died about 24 hours after the attack. </p><p>Her murderer was sentenced to 30 years in prison. For a long time he was unrepentant and surly. One night he had a dream or vision of Maria, gathering flowers and offering them to him. His life changed. When he was released after 27 years, his first act was to go to beg the forgiveness of Maria’s mother. </p><p>Devotion to the young martyr grew, miracles were worked, and in less than half a century she was canonized. At her beatification in 1947, her mother (then 82), two sisters and a brother appeared with Pope Pius XII on the balcony of St. Peter’s. Three years later, at her canonization, a 66-year-old Alessandro Serenelli knelt among the quarter-million people and cried tears of joy.</p> American Catholic Blog Lord, may the medals we wear be constant reminders of the lives they depict. While wearing them, may we be blessed through the saints’ intercession and protected from harm. Help us to continue to spread the messages of Jesus and Mary and the saints and angels.

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