As a teen, I used to watch the kids TV show "Save By The Bell" just to see Elizabeth Berkley's character Jessie. Hmm, how cool am I? Needless to say, I'm also the kid who grew up on Verhoeven films. We're talking everything from his commercially accepted flicks like RoboCop, Total Recall, & Basic Instinct naturally to his more obscure stuff like The 4Th Man or the controversial Spetters. Good stuff all around. Needless to say, I was also drawn to the theater due to the incredible NC-17 rating. Ni-ice.
Personally, I was thrilled to have an opportunity when it came to seeing Showgirls at the local multiplex & I really liked it despite all the nasty reviews I'd read. What most critics failed to give Elizabeth Berkley credit for was how well she danced in the movie. Berkeley's acting skills were not bad per se although I'd say her performance is definitely not Oscar caliber by any means. On the same token, I daresay no one could accuse her of having not moved on from "Saved By The Bell" role irregardless of how you much you liked or disliked the film.
I actually spent one Christmas holiday at home alone with only bottled water to drink & a copy of Showgirls on videotape. It was too cold to go outside & there was snow everywhere so obviously I was going to stuck in my apartment for some time. Over the course of one afternoon, I must've watched this tape nearly three times not including rewinding certain scenes. I found myself rather addicted to the film even though I'd seen it once in theater & rented the tape a few times from the local video store in my neighborhood. Hmm, guess it was that pole dance scene or maybe the infamous lap dance with Kyle MacLachlan. At any rate, I was hooked & Showgirls managed to keep my mind off the cold world outside my window.
Nomi Malone dreams of being a successful dancer & she's definitely going to make it to the top one way or the other. Unfortunately, dreams come at a hefty price & it's not always easy to get ahead in the dog-eat-dog entertainment industry. As a down-on-her-luck, street-smart girl who earns her pay stripping in a sleazy night club by night, Nomi is about to learn just exactly what it means to get a taste of true freedom & ultimate victory. In the meantime, she's going to have to ward off sleazy bosses & dirty customers who will pay a paltry $50 for a mere lap dance at the Cheetah club.
In the beginning of Showgirls, Nomi is hitchhiking to Las Vegas in hopes of making it big as a dancer or perhaps a showgirl. After her bags are stolen by a scheister who drove her to Vegas, Nomi is fortunate enough to meet Molly who offers her a place to crash temporarily. At this point in the story, we know very little about Nomi & we aren't even sure of her real name. Molly & Nomi, however, seem to hit it off pretty well & the two room together in a trailer.
After meeting Cristal (lead Showgirl) at Molly's place of employment, Nomi sees everything she could possibly want & the hunger for fame truly kicks in. Needless to say, Nomi does end up getting a part in Goddess per Cristal's recommendation although the competition between the two is fierce & Nomi dives deeper into the underworld of show business. While Nomi always get what she wants, the cost of fame in Sin City may mean dealing with some pretty nasty dogs. Before it's too late, Nomi is sucked into a world of drugs & sex which only leads to violence in the end. But is it too late to get out alive before making it all the way to the top? And what about Molly? Will this new found fame jeopardize their friendship?
While critics & moviegoers alike have mixed opinions about Showgirls, I still say Verhoeven crafted one entertaining piece of cinema which showcases a fairly decent story amidst the trashiness that surrounds the otherwise beautiful Las Vegas. Sure, it's campy & some of the acting is over the top at times but I still believe Showgirls is a film worthy of repeated viewings & certainly has earned it's minor cult classic status. I can't say for sure if anyone will care about the film 5-10 years down the road but I've seen it nearly 17 times since the initial theatrical release & still love it to this day.
Pros: cinematography, great locations, sets Cons: cheesy dialog, violent, depressing The Bottom Line: Topless pole dancers in a feminist film? It is easy to see why this film was not a success and is often laughed at. The studio spent loads of money creating elaborate sets, but who is this movie really intended for? At first glance, it seems like a skin flick that only exists to satisfy male fantasies. However, the director … more