Showgirls ★½

Oh man, what can even be said about this film. Paul Verhoevens cult classic is undeniably trashy, gratuitous, poorly acted, and completely embarrassing at points. But there is something also very fascinating about it. Something that can't be said about Showgirls is that it's a poorly directed film. Verhoevens camera work is energetic and dynamic, and the cinematography is suitably flashy and excessive for the story they are telling. It's not Paul Verhoevens fault that the film is bad. At least not completely. It's mainly the script and the acting. I think its fair to call Elizabeth Berkleys performance one of the all time worst. Not that the material she was given is easy to work with, but some of the line delivery here is super embarrassing. Particularly in the first scene where the Nomi character is angry about a stolen suitcase, and of course the infamous "doggy chow" scene. Which is a worse acting showcase than "The Room." 

What's funny about Showgirls is it borders a line between genuine enjoyment, ironic "so bad its good" enjoyment, and just being completely terrible in every way. Like the film will go from two chapters talking about eating dog food, to an elaborate dance scen number involving dozens of extras, to Kyle Maclachlin creeping around naked in a swimming pool, to a rape scene that I actually found very effective and disturbing. It's honestly hard to make sense of. The script doesn't know what to do with itself. We'll go from great ideas to the worst possible idea imaginable in a matter of seconds. The script adds in so many pointless characters and story lines. The character of James, on top of not being well acted, adds nothing to the film and has some of the worst dialogue I have ever heard. 

This film is truly an enigma, in a strange way it's unlike anything I have ever seen. It's certainly unique and worth a watch, but it's also completely incompetent at point. I think it's polarizing reception here on Letterboxd reflects this. Jesus, what an interesting film. I only watched it to appreciate the discussion on the Sardonicast Podcast, but surprisingly I have become fascinated by the mark this film has had on the film industry.

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