Paul Verhoeven's Showgirls (1995) was met by critics and audiences with near universal derision. You Don't Nomi traces the film's redemptive journey from notorious flop to cult classic, and maybe even masterpiece.
During his 50th birthday party thrown by his wife, Remco's life takes a turn for the worse. His business partners are scheming behind his back to sell him out and his former mistress shows up pregnant.
All alone in the world, Nomi Malone, making her way to Las Vegas, is determined to make a name as a dancer while putting her unspoken past behind her. Her tough, streetwise veneer is not as infallible as she would like, she, as she arrives in Vegas, becoming more cautious in the way she approaches strangers who seem willing to help her purely out of the goodness of their heart. Her talent and connections in combination are only able to get her a job at the Cheetah Club, a strip joint. Her first true friend in Vegas, Molly Abrams, works as the costumer for Goddess, the topless production at the Stardust. It is through Molly that Nomi catches the eye of Goddess' headliner, Cristal Connors. Nomi has a love/hate feeling toward Cristal: she doesn't much like her but wants to become her. Being at the Stardust, Nomi also catches the eye of Cristal's boyfriend, Zack Carey, Stardust's entertainment director. Through these contacts, Nomi is presented opportunity after opportunity to be part of ...Written by
Elizabeth Berkley thought she was taking a turn for more serious acting roles when she signed on for the very un-Jessie-Spano-like role of Nomi Malone in Showgirls. Although the flick was decidedly not for the Saved by the Bell audience, Elizabeth quickly learned that stripping totally naked didn't energize her career in the way in which she had hoped. She spent her stint on Dancing with the Stars talking about the anxiety she battled after feeling mocked for the film, regaining her confidence and personal power. See more »
When Nomi is arrested in the bar, she is wearing heels. Upon leaving jail, she is wearing what appear to be white bedroom slippers. See more »
When the film aired on VH1, any nudity especially during the stage performances and sex scenes, were digitally painted over to match skin tones or previous articles of clothing that covered those areas. The heavily altered VH1 broadcast version credits "Jan Jansen" as director. See more »
I adore this movie. No, really, I do. If I were rating it solely on my fondness for it, I would easily give it a 9 or a 10. On the other hand, if I were going to judge this movie solely on its merits as "worthy" cinema--story, acting, technical prowess--it would rate a 1 or 2 stars at best.
So, what the hell, I split the difference.
First, let me tell you why I hate this movie. It doesn't work as soft-core porn--the sex scenes are either disturbing, degrading, or just plain silly (or even all three at once). It doesn't work as social commentary--we already knew show business was full of back-stabbing bitches and controlling bastards, so what's new here? It certainly doesn't work as a cautionary tale, though God knows it does its best in places. Indeed, this movie is so full damn of itself it's in danger of exploding like Mr. Creosote in "The Meaning of Life". Either that, or it feels ready to spontaneously condense into a microscopic black hole of sheer pretentiousness.
So what does this movie work as? ENTERTAINMENT! All it takes to love this movie is to know, going in, that none of the characters are likable, you're going to be subjected to a lot of oh-my-gosh-my-golly nudity and naughtiness, and that--most importantly--none of this has any bearing on anything remotely resembling reality. Showgirls takes place in its own little universe of sheer, joyous exploitation for its own sake. And this it does admirably well.
And, after all, isn't entertainment what movies are for? This is a great movie to watch with your friends. Google for a Showgirls drinking game and do tequila shots. You'll be hammered before you know it.
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