Las Vegas stripper, Penny Slot (Rena Riffel), sets out on an adventure to become the star dancer on a dance television show. With stars in her eyes, she tries to find the pot of gold at the...
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Rena Riffel (Showgirls/Mulholland Drive) stars in her directorial debut, the B Movie Musical Retro Satire, Trasharella. Transforming into a recycling trashy super hero, it is up to Trasharella to kill the Hollywood Vampire.
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Las Vegas stripper, Penny Slot (Rena Riffel), sets out on an adventure to become the star dancer on a dance television show. With stars in her eyes, she tries to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow but instead finds danger in a town more wicked than Sin City. Romance then leads her down a path towards her dream of stardom, fame, and fortune. But danger lurks at every twist and turn while Penny Slot becomes lured by a dangerous love triangle full of temptation and seduction. Penny's longtime fiancé/boyfriend, James "Jimmy" Smith ('Glenn Plummer') warns her that she needs formal technique training if she wants to be taken seriously as a real dancer, so Penny heeds his advice and sets out to take ballet classes and practices her pique turns. But, she must pay the price. And there is a price to pay for success, sacrifices to be made at every imaginable level, and it all comes down to... How bad do you want it? Written by
Despite being a box office bomb when it arrived in theaters in September 1995, Showgirls has made up more than its budget over the years in video sales. The movie has gotten better with age and people are seeing it as more than just an All About Eve remake nowadays. Regardless of any revisionist's ideas, I've always felt the film was an ode to a Las Vegas that doesn't exist any longer in 2013. Back then, anything could happen in Sin City. Today, well, it's full of unfinished buildings and over-priced food. Back in 1995, it was a magical place.
Rena Riffel, who played Hope/Penny in the original, was able to fund a sequel through donations from KickStarter to write, produce, edit and direct a sequel. Penny's From Heaven takes us to the present day, where Penny and James Smith are still together 15 years later (the baby apparently was aborted) and they are still trying to get the money flowing. James wants to sell T-Shirts with the quotes he would use on Nomi while Penny still wants to be respected as a dancer. She wants to join a troupe known as Stardancers.
The entire 135-minute film is chock full of Showgirls references. Entire scenes are recreated, several actors from the first film reprise their roles and Penny goes through several adventures and jobs on her road to joining Stardancers.
While the movie has a Z-budget and the acting is atrocious (though I doubt they were trying hard), it's fun to hear the references to the cult classic prequel. Riffel has not aged one bit in the 15 years between movies other than a little age in the face. She still looks fantastic and plays the dumb blond to the hilt. It is hilarious to see her empty glaze look when she's with others. Shelly Michele, the body double to the stars, has aged quite well, too. She looks better than in the other movie I saw with her. After awhile, you ignore the bad acting and realize everyone was having fun shooting this film. The originality of this film is lacking as every part of the plot and the dialogue was lifted from Showgirls but it's from people who were key parts of the original.
I've heard there will be another sequel down the line. My only suggestion is to make it about 80 minutes long. For now, this sequel will hold you over for a long time. Just watch it in small bites unless you need something to make you drowsy. It's a very slow and talky film.
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