Director: Paul Verhoeven
Stars: Elizabeth Berkley, Gina Gershon, Kyle MacLachlan, Glenn Plummer, Robert Davi, Gina Rivera, Alan Rachins
A critic's take: “This film is like a shiny, red apple that's rotten to the core—despite slick direction and a glossy sheen, it reeks of decay.” - James Berardinelli (Reel Views)
Why it's bad (meaning good): In a perfect, less inhibited world, Showgirls would have kick-started a resurgence of theatrically released “adult” films in Hollywood, giving perverts no reason to feel shameful about ogling beautiful women and laughing at cheeky melodrama. Unfortunately for director Paul Verhoeven, film critics and halfway intelligent moviegoers can’t seem to look past a movie’s sheer inadequacies, thus relegating this nudie dancer saga to the annals of cinema’s darkest, most inferior works.
And, really, we can’t imagine having it any other way. There’s something to be said about a movie that can simultaneously make you chuckle uncontrollably while also getting you all hot and bothered.
Make no mistake about it: Despite critics’ claims that it’s about as hot as a Mo’Nique shower scene (that’s paraphrased, of course), Showgirls is often sexy as hell. Credit that to former Saved By The Bell star Elizabeth Berkley’s hotness, which more than makes up for her horrendous overacting—though, that overcharged performance approach does benefit from a water-splashing sex scene inside a pool.
Equal kudos go to the rest of the film’s actresses, ladies unafraid to catfight it out while topless, deliver hokey same-sex flirtations with straight faces, and somehow not burst out in hysterics whenever Berkley’s acting falls flat (i.e., every single scene). We, the viewers, however, are free to laugh our asses off. And if someone slights you for loving Showgirls, dare them to say they’ve never watched late night Skin-A-Max flicks. At least Showgirls has some production value, however small.