As someone who watches a lot of film, I can understand anyone’s fascination with truly bad pictures only so far as it feeds one’s hobby or interest. Take what the chuckleheads did over on MST3K as an example; clearly, they found their niche in lampooning what others intended for them to be taking seriously. We, as a culture, take ourselves way too seriously most of the time, so I ‘get’ what it’s like to sit back, turn the brain off, and enjoy something that could universally be dubbed a turd.
The dirty little secret of the first SHOWGIRLS flick is that no one truly believed they were making the hind end of a motion picture. In fact, I suspect they thought all along that they had something worthy of their time, effort, and attention. SHOWGIRLS 2, on the other hand, isn’t.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and characters. If you’re the kind of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
Penny Slot (played by producer, writer, and director Rena Riffel) wants to be a star dancer, but, instead of finding fame and fortune in the city that never sleeps, she finds herself, love, her inner lesbian, and a whole lot of other drollery. Can she rise above it all and find redemption for herself and the others in her life?
I’m bettin’ no.
Again, it’s increasingly rare for me to find anything worth discussing in any greater context for a single release, but SHOWGIRLS 2: PENNY’S FROM HEAVEN really pushed my limits. It isn’t that it’s awful – I hate to say that I’ve actually seen much, much worse – because I’ve no doubt that there’s an audience for almost anything that gets made these days. Sure, there’s a billion channels on TV, but no one’s producing a weekly SHOWGIRLS series that I know of, so at the very least the picture has that going for it.
However, was anyone really clamoring for a sequel to the themes of the first SHOWGIRLS? There’s something to be said for being the reigning champion of glitz and crap. Why mess with perfection? I suppose that Ms. Riffel figured there was a story in this bomb worth telling; I just couldn’t tell you why. Maybe you need to consult the commentary track for that.
Instead, what I will say is that it’s entirely too long. At nearly 2 and ½ hours AND no substance, I suspect Riffel never met a scene she wouldn’t cut. Also, it really has no central story despite what my synopsis and the product packaging tells you otherwise; rather, it’s a string of vignettes loosely spun together around the central idea that no matter where you go there’s always a man willing to let a pretty lady practice her lap dance. Riffel clearly has the goods – she puts ‘em on the glass every chance the script allows her – but there’s something to be said for modesty. I’m all for letting a pretty lady show me her ta-tas and all that; still, she’s got enough eyelashes for three women, and I couldn’t help but constantly be distracted by them.
SHOWGIRLS 2 (2011) is produced by Rena Riffel Films. DVD distribution is being handled by Wild Eye Releasing. As for the technical specifications … well, you really weren’t expecting all that much if you showed up expecting to get a rundown on the technical specifications for an unauthorized sequel to a really bad film, were you? It looks like it was shot on home video; it sounds like it was shot on home video; and I’m thinking this was little more than someone’s home video project. ‘Nuff said. To the release’s credit, there are a handful of special features, though I didn’t investigate them: lost footage, a behind-the-scenes short, the infamous ‘hot dog’ scene remix, and a director’s commentary. If you want ‘em, then they’re there: God help you if you want ‘em.
(NOT REALLY) RECOMMENDED. Just the idea of a SHOWGIRLS 2 really smacks of desperation (or an eye for quick profit) if you ask me, and that’s about all that’s on display here. Gone is the big budget production, and, in its place, are a bunch of plain old houses and some rich guy’s rumpus room. The magic of a legitimately bad flick like the first SHOWGIRLS can’t really be re-captured after all; in the end, we’re just left with ‘bad.’
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Wild Eye Releasing provided me with a DVD copy of SHOWGIRLS 2: PENNY’S FROM HEAVEN by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review.