Best Worst Films: Showgirls

Best Worst Films: Showgirls


Photo from Movie Dare

Photo from Movie Dare

Now I’m going be honest: as far as I’m concerned, the main redeeming quality of bad films is humour. With that in mind, I ruled out the many comedic flops as well as the ones that most people consider bad, but I genuinely enjoy (a lot of Adam Sandler films, for example). Eventually I went with Showgirls, which Wikipedia cites as an “erotic drama”. Yeah…if by ‘erotic’ you mean creepy and by ‘drama’ you mean full of over-acting, then sure.

The first thing you should know about the plot of this film is that it is the epitome of the “young girl goes to the big city” cliché, but it almost feels like the studio couldn’t afford to set it in Hollywood or New York (despite a $45 million budget) so they happily settled with Vegas. Or more likely, it means they can have corruption upon corruption upon controversy upon corruption. I’m not even talking hilarious, I’m talking just insane. First it’s prostitution, then it’s pushing a showgirl rival down the stairs, then it’s rape, then it’s prostitution again (although in fairness the latter is part of our main characters backstory).

Oh yes, Elizabeth Berkley. I may not have watched much Saved By The Bell as a kid but I’ve heard enough about your character to understand that this film was a…’big step’ for you. Meet Nomi Malone from *slams fries on table* “DIFFERENT PLACES”; she’s a ‘Showgirl Fangirl’, and if that quote didn’t give it away, she tends to be a bit dramatic. It’d be warranted if she was a bit more intelligent; this girl takes naïve to a whole new level, which is why I was so surprised to hear about her spontaneous tragic backstory. I won’t spoil it but let’s just say it’s pretty hilarious to see a woman react to having her suitcase stolen by a guy she was threatening to stab moments before. As you can see Berkley isn’t given much to work with, least of all by her co-stars.

The biggest offender is Gina Ravera. She plays the typical nice best friend who does Nomi all these favours. Except 90% of her screen time she looks like she could not care less about what she’s saying. Then there’s Glenn Plummer, half love interest, half terrible guardian angel that judges her for wanting to be a showgirl; and considering his ability to get jobs that place him in the same location as Nomi, I started to wonder if he actually existed.

Then we come to the dancing. It’s actually way too good for this film – even Berkley’s good in a routine. I get the feeling they might have tasered her just before she jumped on the stripper pole. Speaking of strippers, did this film have a boob quota it needed to fill? I’m pretty sure there were enough in this film to qualify them as props. But nevertheless, the overall set is gorgeous. I couldn’t help but wonder if they spent most of their budget on it and just cheaped out on…everything else.

So with all this I wouldn’t blame you for wondering why I place this as the “Best Worst Film”; it’s only funny in how ridiculous it is and even that’s not exactly hilarious. But this film is rebellious. All this corruption, all these unlikeable personalities and all this T&A is a big middle finger to the entertainment industry. Because maybe, just maybe, it’s showing everything you get behind the scenes.

 

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