Forget the 'Showgirls' comparisons. One of 'Burlesque's' pivotal scenes is set to the unforgettable Boston anthem 'More Than a Feeling,' just like... wait for it... 'Fubar 2!' Everyone's favorite high-pitched classic served as a backdrop for not only Deaner's renewed will to live, but also Xtina's hookup scene with the girly man of her dreams. And isn't Cher giving Xtina a job almost exactly like Tron setting Deaner and Terry up with oil gigs? No? OK. Maybe that's where the unlikely 'Burlesque'/'Fubar 2' similarities end.

But that doesn't mean I'm going to stop comparing 'Burlesque' to other movies. Because, let's face it, it's not exactly the most original concept to ever grace the silver screen. Just look at 'Country Strong,' due out later this month. Washed up singer Kelly Canter, played inexplicably by Gwyneth Paltrow, tries to revive her career by hitching her wagon to rising young star Beau Hutton (Garrett Hedlund) and, begrudgingly, up-and-coming country diva Chiles Stanton (Leighton Meester). The whole concept sounds kind of like young Xtina reviving old Cher's little burlesque club now, doesn't it?

These aren't the first movies about bright-eyed young 'uns propping up their aging role models -- the list could go on and on. But don't worry; I've narrowed it down to my favorite top five movie ingénues/wagon-hitcher duos.
Esther Hoffman (Barbra Streisand) and John Norman Howard (Kris Kristofferson) in 'A Star is Born' (1976)
This may be the third version of this popular tale of wagon-hitching, but it's the highest grossing of the three, not to mention the only one featuring Gary Busey and music (partially) by Kenny Loggins. This time around, Babs steps into Judy Garland's shoes (who was herself stepping into Janet Gaynor's) as the talented young singer Esther who falls for the fading rock star John. He nurtures her talent, but as her career eclipses his, he becomes more and more self-destructive. He really should have been more cool about it and just enjoyed having a woman who could bring home lots of bacon.

Dewey Cox (John C. Reilly) and Lil' Nutzzak (Jacques Slade) in 'Walk Hard'
Dewey owes a great deal to Lil' Nutzzak. After all, if the hot young rapper hadn't sampled some of Dewey's hit song, 'Walk Hard,' the washed up old crooner would never have achieved the comeback he so desperately, desperately craved. Sans Lil' Nutzzak, he'd probably die babbling incoherently while ripping a sink out of the wall. Nude.

Sylk (Padma Lakshmi) and Billie Frank (Mariah Carey) in 'Glitter'
Sexy Sylk isn't exactly washed up, but she can't sing so newbie Billie acts as a ghost-singer of sorts for the pop star. That totally counts as coattail riding--she passes off Billie's mad diva skills as her own. Billie, being the sassy gal she is, exposes the singer in front of some DJ named Dice who recognizes Billie's potential to become a cash cow for him instead of ghost-singing for the ungrateful Sylk. He intros her to the right people and--bada bing--a star is born. Now he just needs to make sure his gravy train--er, love--doesn't reroute to a bigger producer.

Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) and Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell) in 'Crazy Heart'
Bad Blake is just getting used to his roach motels and miniscule bowling alley crowds when his protégé, Tommy Sweet, swoops in with an offer to let Bad Blake open for him. Superstar Tommy has totally eclipsed his wayward mentor, but he wants to extend a small piece of his coattail for old Bad to hop onto. Y'know, for old time's sake.

Alex Fletcher (Hugh Grant) and Cora Corman (Haley Bennett) in 'Music and Lyrics'
Washed up '80s pop star Alex (a thinly veiled nod to Andrew Ridgeley, the other guy in Wham) gets a chance to land back in the limelight when pop tart Cora (a thinly veiled nod to Britney Spears at her snake-writhing peak) offers him a chance to do a duet with her. The duet makes Alex relevant again, reviving his career. And somehow the whole experience helps him hook up with Drew Barrymore. An excellent study in coattail riding.

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categories Columns, The Rundown