Showgirls (1995)

showgirls poster 1995 movie
1 Overall Score
Story: 1/10
Acting: 1/10
Visuals: 6/10

Decent looking, so-bad-it-is-good

Too many things to mention

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Showgirls

Studio:  Carolco Pictures

Genre(s):  Drama/B-Movie/Adult

Release Date(s):  September 22, 1995

MPAA Rating:  NC-17


Acting upstaged by a chimp

Nomi Malone (Elizabeth Berkley) has just hit Las Vegas with plans to become a dancer.  Befriending Molly Abrams (Gina Ravera), Nomi starts small at low brow strip club, but catches the eye of performer Cristal Connors (Gina Gershon) and promoter Zack Carey (Kyle MacLachlan).  Recruited to the stage show Goddess, Nomi seems to finally be making it…but making it in Las Vegas can have consequences that Nomi isn’t ready to face.

Directed by Paul Verhoeven, Showgirls is a cult drama more renowned for its B-Movie quality story and acting which has led to cult status.  The film was the first film that intentionally went for an NC-17 rating and bombed at the box office.  The movie however gained cult status on video and is often listed as one of the worst movies of all times.  It won Razzies for Worst Picture, Worst Actress (Elizabeth Berkley), and Worst Screen Couple (for any combination of actors), Worst Director, Worst Screenplay, Worst New Star (Berkley), and Worst Original Song (“Walk Into the Wind”) with nominations for Worst Actor (Kyle MacLachlan), Worst Supporting Actor (Robert Davi), Worst Supporting Actor (Alan Rachins), Worst Supporting Actress (Gina Gershon), Worst Supporting Actress (Lin Tucci), and Worst Remake or Sequel (essentially All About Eve and The Lonely Lady).  The movie even got a special nomination in 2005 for Worst “Drama” of Our First 25 Years (losing to Battlefield Earth).


Thrust it! Thrust it!

I had always missed out on Showgirls.  I didn’t see it in the theater (not many did) and only had access to it at Blockbuster which edited it…and what was the point of that?  I finally got to see the legendary picture, and I have to say it lives up to its status of “so-bad-it-is-good”.

It is hard to decide if the best part of Showgirls is the story or the actors in the story.  The basis of the story is the rise to fame by Berkley’s Nomi.  In normal rise to fame stories, we see a person corrupted (like All About Eve or All the King’s Men).  In this movie, I honestly don’t know what we were supposed to think about Nomi or any of the characters for that matter.  Nomi is pretty unlikable throughout the film and doesn’t qualify as “the hooker with the heart of gold” because she starts out corrupt and ends rather corrupt.  Her relationships with people don’t make much sense (does she hate Gershon’s Cristal or not?  Is MacLachlan a bad guy?  Is Glenn Plummer supposed to likable?  Is the viewer to supposed to think Robert Davi’s cheap stripper club Cheetah is a good place vs. Stardust?)…it is pretty unclear throughout the film.


Wait…do they hate each other? I’m just confused.

This plot confusion is aided by some of the worst acting by Elizabeth Berkley who just looks angry in every scene.  Every dance number, every sex scene, every conversation, Berkley just looks pissed off and gets randomly pissed off.  Is she trying to sleep her way to the top?  Sometimes yes, other times no.  Berkley’s acting doesn’t help clarify it (and I can’t say that much of the supporting cast does much better in clearing that up).

The movie’s only saving grace is that it does look pretty good.  I still don’t get what type of burlesque show the Stardust is putting on since most of the cast is topless (but it is classy?)  The numbers are shot with style and the movie does provide all the nastiness of Las Vegas…It left me feeling rather depressed for society (which Las Vegas does as well…at least that is what it did for me).


We’ll be able to transform the erotic into non-erotic!

Showgirls is a must see…because describing it and the convoluted overacting story doesn’t do it justice.  I am sad I missed out of years (almost twenty!!!) of viewing this trashy masterpiece which has stood the test of time.  If you are doing a so-bad-it-is-good marathon and no kids are present, Showgirls is a definite requirement.  Showgirls was followed up with a parody-esque follow-up called Showgirls 2:  Penny’s from Heaven featuring Rena Riffel (who directed, produced, and wrote the film) reprising her role as Penny.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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