Showgirls VIP Edition on DVD
Paul Verhoevens Showgirls was generally written off as a bad piece of
fluff on its initial release.
That isnt quite fair. It isnt as bad as it was made out to be
though it definitely takes real effort to take it seriously. And this makes
us wonder why MGM would bother releasing it in this deluxe boxed edition that
not only includes a DVD of the movie itself, but enough trinkets, gewgaws and
other assorted bribes aimed at enticing buyers.
Wait. Maybe we just answered our own question
Anyway, Showgirls does its level best to come across as a serious drama about
the life of a Las Vegas showgirl, but in the end it comes across more as a way
to justify flashing naked breasts at the audience at every opportunity.
Not that theres necessarily anything wrong with that, of course!
But breasts dont in themselves make a movie, else Russ Meyers Mondo
Topless would have made one of the American Film Institutes Top 100 lists.
To keep you abreast of the story, Nomi Malone (Elizabeth Berkley) is a young
woman with dreams of being a professional dancer in Las Vegas. But she doesnt
just want to be one of those dancers who bumps and grinds in her legal tender-stuffed
G-string, but one who earns respect and fame as an artist. Why she chooses Vegas
rather than Branson, Missouri, when seeking non-nudie dancing credibility is
beyond us, unless its the fact that Nomi is driven enough that shes
willing to do just about anything to achieve her goal and probably doesnt
have time to take a straighter and narrower path.
Her first real job, however, finds her dancing with legal tender-stuffed G-string
(if it actually remains on). But she definitely has talent beyond the jiggle
factor, and because of this she starts to get noticed and it isnt long
until she has a chance to audition for the position of a real live Showgirl.
Showgirls arent just strippers, you see: theyre an entire dance
troupe that, though topless, performs in choreographed production numbers. Not
Ann Miller or Ginger Rogers stuff, perhaps, but it beats stripping. Except perhaps
for the nudie part of the job...
But life isnt just on stage; theres a lot going on backstage as
well, including rivalries between the girls that often result in serious injuries.
And, under certain circumstances, the girls may be required to perform
certain services if they want to further their careers and the girls
want to further their careers.
Lets not dwell on the plot, lest you run screaming from this magazine
and never return. Suffice it to say that it isnt the worst movie ever
made, despite the opinions of some people.
It does, however, have what is arguably Joe Eszterhas worst screenplay.
The dialogue is really bad, though there are some perhaps unintentionally funny
lines. The acting is also really bad, except for Gina Gershons caricature.
Berkley could use a little gravitas if shes going to carry a movie, though
shes appropriately decorative and uses her outstanding points appropriately.
Fortunately, Paul Verhoeven is a good director, and this comes as close to
saving the movie as anything. And in an age in which musicals are few and far
between (successful ones, anyway!), we get some flashy production numbers, and
some exciting stripping scenes.
And, for those more interested in skin than art, theres a bevy of beautiful
boobies on display.
The VIP edition of Showgirls is one of the most interesting DVD packages,
but the DVD itself is the weakest part. Maybe this explains all the extras.
The disc features anamorphic widescreen video, 16x9 TV compatible, and the
picture is pretty good. Colors are rich, detail is sharp (and movies like this
require great detail), and there is very little dust or grain present. Appropriately,
the fleshtones come through well
The audio is presented only in Dolby Digital 5.1 (no dts) and its great.
The surround channels are front and center, so to speak, particularly during
the big dance numbers, where they combine with the front three channels to make
you feel like youre there in the audience watching. The bass is strong,
dialogue is clear.
For DVD extras, we have David Schmader providing an audio commentary. Schmader
could be considered the ultimate Showgirls fan, who staged screenings of the
movie with live audio commentaries. This guy obviously needs a life, but his
commentary has its moments. People like Verhoeven, Berkley, Gershon, and Kyle
MacLachlan also perform an audio commentary and theres a video commentary
by two girls from Scores.
Alas, its lousy. They critique Nomis dance numbers and they either
take the movie or themselves far too seriously. If that isnt enough for
you, they also do a 5-minute lap dance tutorial, in which they list the things
they think women should consider before giving one. We dont remember if
credibility was one of them.
Other special features on the DVD include a storyboard-to-screen featurette,
a subtitle trivia track, and the trailer.
Okay, now well tackle the packaging. Showgirls comes in a boxed, party
edition thats about the size of a board game. It includes two shot glasses,
a poster, a blindfold, a game of Pin the Pasties on the Showgirl,
a deck of cards and some photos of Berkley with drinking games on them.
Its a great gimmick and can help you furnish your home with important
items if youre just starting out. We found it a real howler, however,
to discover that the drinking games on the cards recommend non-alcoholic
beverages for them. Right. We cant imagine watching the movie without
the help of a little booze, let alone playing a drinking game while teetotalling.
Still, you have to admire the showmanship. Or is it Showgirlship?
Showgirls, the VIP Edition, from MGM Home Entertainment
131 min. anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1, 16x9 TV compatible), Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Elizabeth Berkley, Kyle MacLachlan, Gina Gershon, Glenn Plummer, Robert
Davi, Alan Rachins, Gina Ravera
Written by Joe Eszterhas, Directed by Paul Verhoeven
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