Showgirls (1995) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Tuna's comments in white:

Showgirls (1995) is a film that everybody (except me) agrees is terrible, and that, without the nudity, it would have no appeal at all. True, but, without the nudity, it would fit easily in a 30 minute TV slot. It won seven Razzies, and was nominated for 6 more. The story is essentially the same as All About Eve, except that Elizabeth Berkley is a young Vegas dancer, and Gina Gershon is a headlining showgirl. The film is directed by Paul Verhoeven, who showed up in person to accept his Razzie, the only person in the Razzie history to do so. The flaw is generally thought to be in the writing, as the film looks great.

Call me a pervert, but with this much nudity, I didn't care that the plot was trite and predictable -- I just ogled the women. The genre is soft-core, and the story is not really any worse than most of the genre. Like or hate it, it is one of the best sources of celebrity nudity ever made.

As a mainstream film, it is probably an F, but as softcore, it is a C, being a little light on simulated sex.


A monumental amount from Gershon and Berkley. Also a fair amount from Rena Riffel, and various contributions from  Bobbie Philips, Bethany Chesser, Dante McCarthy and a bazillion miscellaneous strippers and showgirls. Joe Bob Briggs counted 170 breasts.

Oh, yeah, and Kyle MacLachlan's buns, if you're into that.

Scoop's comments in yellow:

Actually, I think Tuna meant E rather than F. No way the film is technically incompetent. It looks beautiful. And Verhoeven may have been the first guy to pick up his Razzie, I don't know, but I know Tom Green also picked his up!

I think the rest of his argument states the case eloquently. If you take away the nudity from Showgirls, it is just another one of those 1940's and 1950's showbiz stories about the catty female stars who claw their ways to the top. It's just plain dumb, it's poorly written, poorly acted, and on the borderline of high camp. But - ah, that photography of naked chicks!

You can't just ignore the nudity. It's there, isn't it? And it involves attractive women who are very naked in good light and/or in artful compositions. Gershon dancing in the show - some of the most beautiful nudity in film history. Berkley lap dancing stark naked - one of the most explicit scenes ever to appear in a mainstream movie.

Therefore, your attitude toward Showgirls boils down to your answers to these questions (1) do you like movies with a lot of beautifully photographed female nudity? (2) is that something which actually determines whether you see a movie or not? 

If you answer yes to both questions, Showgirls will be a very pleasant experience for you. If you answered yes only to the first one, you will still want to rent the film and see it once. If you answered no to both questions, preferring only those films which eschew tawdry entertainment in pursuit of universal truth, then you can always find Tarkovsky's "Stalker" gathering dust on the shelves at Blockbuster.

DVD info from Amazon.

widescreen 1.85:1

If your genre definition is "female celebrity nudity films", then Showgirls is a C+. It's one of the top 10 of all time in quantity and quality. It's the indoor "Sirens". Tuna points out that it is a C if you like softcore sex films, strong on nudity, but weak on the sex scenes. If you are looking for a top-notch, brainy, aesthetic screenplay that deals with truth, beauty, suffering, and the human condition ... well, pass on Showgirls and pick up a copy of "The Red Violin". 

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: about one star. Ebert 2/4, Berardinelli .5/4, Joe Bob 1/4

  • The film was nominated for 13 Razzies, winning 7.


The People Vote ...

  • with their dollars: a box-office failure, perhaps because of the NC-17 rating. Made for $45 million dollars, it grossed $20 million in the USA.


IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, Showgirls is a difficult movie to rate. We think it should be as follows: as a celebrity nudity film: C+. As a softcore C. As a movie with general appeal to people who don't care for nudity, or are indifferent to it: E.

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