Some films are so bad, so poorly acted and directed, so badly produced that they go from being merely a bad movie and somehow move into cult classic status. The best know of this odd genre is without a doubt, Plan Nine form Outer Space. Showgirls has become the modern leading contender for cult classic bad film. The plot, what there is of one, is about a young girl Nomi (Elizabeth Berkely) that hitchhikes to Las Vegas to become a dancer. Right from the start we see that she has a lot of issues. She is violent, ill tempered and just a general pain to have around. She befriends a young woman that inexplicably takes her in. The friend, Molly (Gina Ravera) works as a seamstress in a big Vegas topless show. Nomi winds up working in a strip club and generally gets herself in trouble. Nomi becomes involved with the star of the big show Crystal (Gina Gershon) and becomes involved with both her and her boyfriend Zack (Kyle MacLachlan). What follows is a mess of extremely bad dancing, horrible writing and acting beneath the talents of most of the actors present. Berkley seems to be having some sort of seizure whenever she dances and Gershon is reduced to lustful looks at both men and women.
The actors are general excellent professionals that seem to have needed money real bad. MacLachlan is very capable of better acting and has done so in almost every film he has ever been in. Gershon is a talented actress and has shown this in films like Bound. Here, however, the talent was put aside in favor or cheesy, nudity filled slop. The only one that fits in this film is Berkley. She is truly bad in her acting and her dancing. Her character is so poorly done she comes across as a very sexy psychopath. She flies into a rage at the slightest little thing. This alone ruins any hope for a performance on Berkleys part since there is no rhyme or reason to her role. There is just filler between the nude dance numbers.
The director has a great set of films to his name. Classics of substance such as Robocop, Total Recall and Basic Instinct show this man can direct. In Showgirls he might as well just phoned in his direction and taken the month off. The camera angles are not up to contemporary standards, the lighting is harsh even for a film about Las Vegas and the framing of the scenes is mundane. What makes this move a cult classic is that a studio actually gave money to such a ill made film. This is the kind of a film you show to a bunch of friends over a couple of pizzas and a lot of beer. As an unintentional comedy the film works. You will laugh very loudly at the most dramatic of scenes. You will want ot call the paramedics every time Nomi dances and you will wonder at what keeps the excuses for costumes up.
Why is it the worse movies have the best DVD production values? The sound here is excellent. The 5.1 sound track is so well balanced that you do feel part of the action, er, at least in the scene. The use of the rear speakers is better than many movies on DVD today. The flow around the sound field is flawless. The picture was produced from a non-anamorphic master quality original. The extras are restricted to a making of feature and a trailer. I would have greatly enjoyed a directors commentary since he may have helped us to understand WHY!. At least a commentary would have been fun to listen to rather than the dialogue. This film is rated NC-17 for the nudity and foul language. Get it and enjoy just how bad a movie can be. "What is your favorite scary movie? Showgirls!!"