“Showgirls” is the epic tale of Nomi Malone (Elizabeth Berkley), who arrives in Las Vegas and promptly gets all her stuff stolen. Fortunately, she happens to meet Molly (Gina Ravera), who’s nice enough to let Nomi shack up with her. Nomi soon finds a job as a stripper at the Cheetah and eventually catches the eye of Jim (Glenn Plummer), a stereotypical Black guy who’s arrogant, who’s (supposedly) a great dancer and who fucks everything he sees, and of Cristal (Gina Gershon), a sexy bisexual showgirl and first-class bitch. It’s Cristal and her boyfriend/boss/pimp (Kyle MacLachlan) who will bring Nomi onto their big Vegas show, Goddess…
Thus begins a continuous catfight and fuckfest, on and off the stage. Incoherent, exploitative and vulgar, the film’s screenplay is filled with laughable dialogue, generally spouted by Nomi, possibly the stupidest character to ever lead a movie, including pornos. At least, porn stars fuck around and act flirty, and that’s about it. Whereas Nomi is a moody, bad tempered bitch with serious behavioral problems. One second she’s happy as a little girl on Christmas morning, then she turns into an annoying psycho bitch, then a full-on nympho slut, and so on. Elizabeth Berkley’s got a nice body, I guess, but man, is she obnoxious! I don’t know if it’s an act, but she sure looks dumb as a brick in this film.
“Showgirls” is trash for sure but it’s certainly not boring. The stupidity of the characters and of screenwriter Joe Eszterhas often made me laugh. Let’s face it, a film featuring a scene in which a topless girl with a switch-blade knife kicks the shit out of a rock star using her karate skills can’t be that bad!
And truth be told, Paul Verhoeven is an excellent director. Okay, his talent was better showcased in “Total Recall” and “Starship Troopers”, but he still knows how to put together a film, more or less, and as mentioned, at least “Showgirls” is entertaining, in all its fucked-up, retarded glory. I think that Roger Ebert summarized this film perfectly by describing it as “Joe Eszterhas’ masturbatory fantasies”. And like masturbation, it’s embarrassing, but you can still get a kick out of it!