Rated: NC-17 for nudity and explicit sexual activity. Reviewed by: Frank Release date: September 22, 1995 Released by: United Artists
Showgirls has all the sexual taboos vividly expressed under an NC-17 rating (no one under 17 admitted); what it lacks is conviction, soul and emotion.
Naomi Malone (Elizabeth Berkley) floats into Las Vegas looking for a job as a dancer and over time finds herself competing for the chorus line at the Stardust. The story then becomes one of how far one goes to achieve success. There is a little of the script from All About Eve, which was made in 1950, starring Bette Davis and Anne Baxter. There is very little of the power and the character depth in the Eve script which allowed it to win six Academy Awards.
This film dwells on bringing to the mainstream sexual ideas, positions, language and actions that are generally reserved for the Playboy Channel on TV. A few scenes are performed well enough to be sensual but most are silly and nearly laughable. After a while, watching the ladies undressed in their dressing room becomes ordinary. The most alluring costume Berkley wears on stage is one which is all lace and covers her body.
Berkley's performance is hollow. She is a beautiful woman but when overexposed she becomes ordinary and almost mundane. Each character is a caricature. Kyle McClachlan is the artistic director whose character and performance are without merit. Nearly all performances are shallow except for Gina Rivera, who plays Naomi's best friend. She delivers emotion and feeling as Molly, the seamstress for the club. The fat obnoxious stripper at the cheap club also appears genuine. Everything else is blah. Even the spectacular dancing scenes are repeated enough to be dull.
The sex is blatant, and if that is what you are looking for, expect to sit through two and one half hours with about ten minutes of sexual energy. The NC-17 rating should be used with far more quality; if it doesn't, it will go the way of the X rated films and find no place in the mainstream.