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Starring Elizabeth Berkley, Gina Gershon, and Kyle Maclachlan
Directed by Paul Verhoeven

Here's another one. A real film made exclusively for adults. Proudly brandishing the NC-17 rating label. Henry and June went down the toilet, fast. So, did anyone in Hollywood think twice about making Showgirls?

Let me take you back a year or two in time, to the office of an Armani-clad studio executive and his similarly clad (well, he's in the cheaper Armani) compatriot. . . .

ARMANI GUY 1: "Have you read the script? Aren't the marketing possibilities GREAT? Lessee -- the same team that let you look up Sharon Stone's skirt in Basic Instinct now drops so much naked flesh in your lap, you'd drown if you were only that lucky...!!!"

ARMANI GUY 2: "They want the NC-17 rating. We'll never sell it in the heartland."

AG1: "Sure we will. Just like the old kids song, 'Dirty Old MacDonald'...

'With a big breast here
And a big breast there
Here a breast. There a breast
Everywhere a big breast...'"

AG2: "You know as well as I do; the money's in the 'R' rating. A 15-year-old can't get in the theater like he can with an 'R'."

AG1: "Nonsense! We'll give him incentive. Cast some TV star with a virginal image in the lead."

AG2: "Dana Plato's a felon."

AG1: "The Olsen twins?"

AG2: "Too young."

AG1: "But there's TWO of 'em. Ten and ten makes 20!"

AG2: "You pedophile, you!"

AG1: "Nah, it's too high concept. How bout Tiffany-Amber Thiessen, from Saved by the Bell?"

AG2: "The idea's good, but 90210 got her. Who's the other girl? The blond?"

AG1: "Hell if I know. Can she act?"

AG2: "It doesn't matter. Hire her. THAT'S your hook. Big teen TV star. Strip her down naked and tease 'em with some lesbian hints. Absolute sure-fire -- sneak the ticket seller an extra fiver for the ticket."

AG1: "Perfect, just perfect."

AG2: "Of COURSE it's perfect. That's why I'm the boss."

AG1: "OK, let's talk script."

AG2: "Script? Girl from crap life runs away to crappier life. Gets lucky. Runs away from that, too. Crap."

AG1: "We've got a big-name writer and director to sell."

AG2: "That's THINKING my boy. Besides, we make all our money in the first couple of weeks from the kidlets sneaking in to see whatever her name is get naked. And we'll get their parents who'll remember Sharon Stone without underwear. It can't miss."

Which is how they think in Hollywood, although probably not how they thought about Showgirls, which misses by more than a mile, and is probably the best reason I can think of for the legalization of pornography. It brings to mind all the screaming of feminists like Andrea Dworkin, who rave that pornography incites violence against women. That magazines like Playboy are pornography.

Well, if that's the standard, then Showgirls ranks right up there with the Bunny-mag as porn. And frankly, this porn is boring as hell.

The story? You've seen it before, the chorine who makes it to the front of the stage despite the unsavory gigs she must endure to get there --"I'm a DANCER!" she says while all the other girls are doing lap dances in an off-the-strip strip bar -- and you've seen it done better. (Strangely enough, the best movie made about a girl from the chorus becoming a star is called . . . 42nd Street.)

All the actors involved in Showgirls should just cash their checks and hope this thing vanishes as fast as possible, so they can get on with their careers as "real" actors. Except for those who think that this is "real" acting. They should have someone tell them to give it up. Which is what I, the Cranky Critic, am for.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price for Showgirls, he would have paid . . .


Which is what he'd spend to rate real XXX porn at the local vid store, if he were so inclined. But XXX porn bores me silly. And so did Showgirls.

Click to buy films by Paul Verhoeven
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