Showgirls [DVD] 
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Paul Verhoeven's attempt to couple the softcore sex film with the Hollywood musical stars Elizabeth Berkley as a Las Vegas stripper who lap-dances her way to the city's most prestigious chorus line. Vying with the show's established star for the leading role in a new erotic spectacular, Berkley gives the director (Kyle MacLachlan) a close-up demonstration of what she can do. Dave Stewart of Eurythmics provides the music for the steamy dance routines.
When Goldie Hawn recommended Elizabeth Berkley for a small role in First Wives Club, she publicly stated that Berkley deserved the opportunity to redeem herself after starring in the ridiculous Showgirls. That says it all: this sleazy, stupid movie, which mixes soft pornography with the clichés of backstage dramas, is the kind of project an aspiring actress would have to put well behind her to keep a career going (though co-star Gina Gershon certainly benefited from her, uh, exposure in the film). Berkley plays a drifter who hitches a ride to Las Vegas, becomes a lap dancer and then a performer, and discovers--gasp!--there's a whole world of sex and violence involved with these things. Gershon is probably the best element in the film, playing Berkley's bisexual rival for the big spotlight on stage. Joe Eszterhas was well overpaid for writing this howler, and director Paul Verhoeven (Basic Instinct) should have known better than to take it seriously. --Tom Keogh, Amazon.com
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Top Customer Reviews
When she gets there it is brimming with sleaze; as the main commodity is the body and the orifice. Dreams are for those who can surrender their bodies and still inhabit the fantasy.
Firstly he gets the psychology right, the girls are wanting to escape as soon as possible and the allure of the big city draws them in. Usually they are escaping bad families and violent relationships. Then they become easy prey to all and sundry so selling becomes a commodity that pays its way.
The film shows the tension between selling, creating identities and a will to power, based upon rising from the dregs into the star. Along the way it highlights the surrender of the self to the machine glamour world as the women are forced into a style of life based upon self medication and cruelty. The shows themselves all reiterate the themese of either hard or primal sexuality simmering below the surface of everyday pretension.
Then there are those dreams hung onto the archetypes, the stars and how mortal people flutter before them. But, hey, they did not get where they are by not being dysfucntional to begin with, and so when they "arrive" they can re-enact their neurosis. More than likely this involves revisting their childhood conditions where they were brutalised, except now of course they are the perpetrators.Read more ›
My opinion is that Showgirls is brilliantly scripted, cast and acted, and thoroughly entertaining. My impression is that this film was created for the love of the craft, perhaps never intended to be a 'blockbuster'.
Showgirls portrays materialism in a highly refined form, in the community surrounding erotic show business. This superficial society is portrayed brilliantly without moralising, without judgement, without sentimentality. It is a film about messed-up people living messed-up lives and the film doesn't pretend that the characters are anything other than messed-up people. As such, the film doesn't offer an epic battle of good against evil, nor pit some sweet damsel against dark forces and have her triumph against all odds because of her inner virtue. This isn't a philosophical film in which a spiritually deep and virtuous maiden, wise beyond her years, struggles to retain her dignity and honesty amidst cruel and unfair circumstances. This isn't a pretentious film with a nauseating, fashionably progressive political message masquerading as a heart-warming, happily-ending story. There are no deep characters in the film because it is a portrayal of a society composed entirely of shallow people engaged in the carnal pursuit of fame, sex, money and power, and of people who use one another and discard one another without once questioning the morality or advisability of such conduct. There is no magical ending ... no wedding, no lesson learned, no apologies, no reconciliation.
In other words, unlike many films, Showgirls isn't a contemporary fairy tale.
Every character from the glamorous leading dancers to the drunken lechers is believable.Read more ›
What intrigues me about Showgirls is that it follows a familiar pattern within Verhoeven's work, but one which seems to have passed most viewers by. Robocop was a masterful pastiche of policier dramas, ultraviolent underground movies, and tongue-in-cheek social commentary. Basic Instinct was a wonderful parody of Hitchcockian suspense drama mixed with steamy erotic thriller overtones. Total Recall is a sci-fi story about a man experiencing a traditional sci-fi story, with all the genre's cliches and tropes writ large. Where these multi-layered works are generally acknowleged as such, Showgirls seems to have been dismissed as trash.
Of all of Verhoeven's films, this one perfects the blending of parody with paradigm. Taking the story of the "country girl in big city loses her way" to its extreme, his ingenue star pouts and glides her way through the most outrageously camp and over-the-top story I've seen in a long time. The dance set-pieces are gloriously showy, the sex scenes ridiculously overblown, the performances hammed up to the max. Verhoeven revels in the smut and the glamour, and attempts to make the ultimate soft-porn extravaganza.
Like all of Verhoeven's movies, the surface story and glossy production covers a great love and understanding of the genre in which he is working, and invests this rag-to-riches tale with a huge sense of fun, and class. I particularly like the ending, as she leaves Las Vegas with nothing, just as she began, even down to the driver and car. It gives a sense that this story has happened a thousand times, to a thousand poor girls, in the original "sin city".
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The one star is not for the film, but because of the Dutch subtitles. There is no menu, so it's impossible to remove the subtitles. Very irritating. Read morePublished 19 days ago by paul Paulsen
OMG!! Love this chick flick. Saucy, raunchy and with a heart!Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
It's sooooooooo bad it's good. The story line and acting are so terrible but that's what makes it such a good film. Put some ice on your titties bitch!Published 4 months ago by PoppyTeddyWoody