Monday, November 30, 2015

Movie Review: "Showgirls" (1995)

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Director: Paul Verhoeven
Year: 1995
Rating: NC-17
Running Time: 2 hours, 8 minutes

A dancer named Nomi Malone (Elizabeth Berkley) moves to Las Vegas to try to make it in the competitive back biting world of show dancing.  

Have you ever wondered what it's like backstage at a Las Vegas topless dancing show?
Neither have we.

"Showgirls" is the first and possibly only NC-17 film to receive a wide theatrical release. It also has the distinction of being highest grossing NC-17 film of all time at the box office, pulling in about $20 million mostly powered by young men hoping to see Jessie Spano from "Saved by the Bell" naked. Despite having the honor of being the top NC-17 earner, it was still a box office bomb as it had a $45 million dollar budget which is something we'll never understand. It was also critically panned as it swept the Razzie Awards the year it was nominated. Since its massively disappointing theatrical run, "Showgirls" has gone on to become a cult classic and has earned over $100 million in home video and DVD sales.

So, how does a film go from box office flop to smashing cult success? Sure, as a drama, this film is horribly written, it is full of awful acting, and even worse, more horrendous dialogue. The film is far too melodramatic to be taken seriously, and yet, somehow, it's full of honest to god cinematic gold. The minute this film stopped being taken seriously was the moment it became a success elsewhere because it has the perfect formula to be an unintentionally great comedy and part of the "so bad, it's good" genre. Elizabeth Berkley stars in this movie as Nomi Malone, a young woman with a massive chip on her shoulder who wants to make it in the big time as a Vegas dancer. Everything related to Berkley's acting is over exaggerated, from the way she gets angry, to the way she gets sad, or the way she gets annoyed, and even as far as the way she has sex. In fact, her in-pool sex scene with Kyle MacLachlan is one of the most ridiculous sex scenes to ever be put on film, and strangely enough, we found ourselves rolling on the floor laughing at how amazing it is. Nomi Malone's rival in the film is Cristal Connors, played by Gina Gershon. Cristal is the lead dancer of the show Namoi eventually joins called "Goddess." For some unexplained reason, Cristal is a bitch to Nomi from the get go, constantly demeaning her every chance she gets, all in a rather thick, unnecessary, and fake Southern accent. Their entire rivalry and catty banter, much like rest of the film, is quite comical with dialogue such as: "You have great tits..." or, "I like nice tits, how about you?" or, "I like having nice tits." With sophisticated dialogue like this, c'mon, how can you go wrong? Beyond the bad acting and unpleasantly nasty, poorly crafted dialogue, the movie is entirely too long, clocking in at 2 hours and 8 minute, and why, we have no idea, but damn if we don't love every single minute of it in an ironic way.

Die hard cinema fans have to see "Showgirls" for the lark and for the trainwreck it is since simply talking about it won't do it the justice it deserves.

My Rating: 3.5/10 for its original intended purpose, 10/10 as a cult classic
BigJ's Rating: 3/10 for its original intended purpose, 10/10 as a cult classic
IMDB's Rating: 4.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 19%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE (unless you're watching ironically)
One year ago, we were watching: "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" (2006)"

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