||I don't care what mainstream reviewers have to say about a picture, if a sitcom starlet is going about seriously revamping her image by baring her birthday suit in a very adult role, that's a good enough reason for Mr. Manor to take in the movie. With that in mind, I caught Showgirls on Showtime.
What I expected was just another T&A pic: cliché chorines with sob stories and the star either body-doubled in the flesh flash segments or displaying her dermatology for all of four seconds. What I got was the best campfest from a major studio since Mommie Dearest. If enough people would ignore what they heard and give it a look, Showgirls could be THE Hollywood-produced "cult classic" of the Nineties. It's that entertaining.
Do we know from the first time we see Nomi Malone (Saved By The Bell tenderoni Elizabeth Berkley) gazing in awe at the casino's glitzy-titsy floor show that the young beauty will eventually headline the revue? Will she become as ruthless as a girl who initially appalled her, alienating her only true friend in the process? Is her foul-mouthed strip joint boss (Robert Davi, natch) an okay guy beneath the surface whereas the casino smoothie (Kyle MacLachlan) turns out to be a real creep? Does Nomi have a past she'd rather obscure? Is there a brassy older stripper the other peelers consider a mother figure? OF COURSE...and that's what makes Showgirls so much fun.
Set in pre-sanitized Vegas, Showgirls is a bare-mammary-filled remake of A Star Is Born right down to the understudy literally getting her name up in lights. Damn, if Barbra Streisand had made this version of the story, we might even forgive her for assassinating Bowie's "Life On Mars".
I'll keep fellow lechers in suspense no longer. Although leggy Liz used a double for some of the trickier choreography, Miss Berkley's authentic anatomy is displayed throughout. She is either topless or nude for about a quarter of the running time, including a totally naked (and torrid) lap dance that must have had MacLachlan spraying a fire extinguisher into his fly after each take.
Berkley and director Paul Verhoeven received the brunt of the notoriety; however, screenwriter Joe Eszterhas deserves most of the credit for making the film what it is. Granted, Joe forgot to have Nomi "talk" to an old pal's headstone, defeat a heavily favored veteran for the world boxing championship or suddenly burst into song--perhaps he was saving those moments for a sequel?--but his script is so packed with shallow characters, extreme improbabilities and dialog begging to be repeated by a midnight theater audience, it would have been nearly impossible for the film to turn out differently no matter who starred and directed. Bravo, Joe!
Rather than waste bucks renting Robin Williams' latest aren't-I-cute-athon, treat yourself to the Showgirls video instead. After all, it's always cooler to be into something before it becomes a cult item.
Having ogled females in feathers, let's move on to leather...specifically Sisters In Leather, a black-and-white Sixties nudie which, despite its title, is not a "roughie". Struggling businessman Joe picks up a sweet young thing who suggests he park his convertible on a side road for an open-air boff session. Joe, naturally, loves the idea--until the horny hussy's female biker cohorts threaten to show photos of the session to his wife, then do so anyway after he coughs up the blackmail bucks.
The man-hating cyclists convince cuckolded Mary to dump Joe and move in with them, the naive housewife not realizing the dykes with bikes are interested in more than her personality. His squeeze about to be gang-lapped, Joe pulls a rescue mission with the aid of the local male bikers--a club also consisting of three whole members--who know exactly how to rid the lesbians of their "abnormality". Five minutes of coed carnality later, the gals are all gratefully hetero! (Does Mellisa Etheridge know about this?)
On the road weeks after the ordeal, the brought-closer-by-the-experience couple crosses paths with the bikers. No hard feelings. In fact, seeing the sextet paired off on a trio of riceburners gives Joe "a ray of hope for the future of mankind." Isn't that sweet???
There's a boatload of junkfilm reviews--most illustrated in the crazy new COLOR medium!--at ManorOnMovies.com. You are invited.