Showgirls

on September 22, 1995 by Kim Williamson
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   "I'm gonna win," enthuses Nomi Malone (Elizabeth Berkley) as she thumbs toward Las Vegas. As the movie ends, Nomi thumbing for L.A., she says she did win -- herself. That's doubtful, but "Showgirls" itself is a total loss. In the two-plus hours that come between Nomi's supposedly life-defining moments, audiences are treated to more female nudity, grinding and cat-fighting than ever seen in a studio film before, as they watch Nomi graduate from nude lapdancing to nude chorus-line dancing to nude star of the show. They're also treated to the perhaps the worst movie of the year.
   Berkley's acting is so wooden that, even en deshabille, touched she would go clunk. Joe Eszterhas' scripting seems to take pleasure in being unabashedly awful, with characterizations that if stretched would be one-dimensional; one overheated scene follows another, as if the usually more reliable Eszterhas had typed this with an oven. In their roles as Nomi's competitor/potential lover and as her potential dance partner/lover, Gina Gershon ("The Player") and Glenn Plummer ("South Central") nicely showcase their talents despite the sweaty and breasty bric-a-brac, and despite Paul Verhoeven's direction toward tableaus of color and rapidity of movement and away from the human. So bad it's almost laugh-at-the-screen good, "Showgirls" is likely to have even more hooters in the audience.    Starring Elizabeth Berkley, Gina Gerson, Kyle MacLachlan and Glenn Plummer. Directed by Paul Verhoeven. Written by Joe Eszterhas. Produced by Alan Marshall and Charles Evans. A UA release. Drama. Rated NC-17 for nudity and erotic sexuality throughout, and for some graphic language and sexual violence. Running time: 131 min.
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