Showgirls: 15th Anniversary SINsantional Edition [Blu-Ray]
What's left to say about Showgirls? We all know that it's one of the worst movies ever made, but it has been dragged through the mud more that a 10-year-old on a Radio Flyer over its now 15-year career. At this point, telling you about the awful dialogue or how dreadful Saved by the Bell's Elizabeth Berkley is would just be belaboring the same points that have been hammered home for the last decade and a half. Instead, you should accept this movie for what it really is, one of the all-time great party-pleasers and the most entertaining piece of cinema (for all the wrong reasons) of the past 20 years.
Paul Verhoeven's "masterpiece" starts on a dusty country road where we meet Nomi (Berkley), 345 miles from Las Vegas, thumbing her way to the City of Lights. As many times as I've seen this movie, I still watch her stick her arm out into the highway and wish with all my might that no one will pick her up this time. But alas, Elvis always seems to show up to take Nomi to what will ultimately be the worst year of her life, and an excruciating two hours of yours. What transpires is inadvertently the most unsexy film you could ever hope to watch, with twists and turns littered with deception and jealousy but leading to nothing more than a few arrest-worthy stripteases and enough cringe-inducing moments to fill a 10-gallon barrel.
Showgirls is a waste of time to try and review as not only is there nothing that hasn't been said about it, but it's such a double-edged sword. The overacting and the ridiculous plotlines are so bad they're beloved. It would be weird to talk trash about something that is just so awesomely bad. Never to be watched alone, the friends you watch it with make all the difference in the experience. Maximum fun can be achieved not by making fun of the movie together, but by quoting lines with as much fervor as Nomi and her topless cohorts.
If you put this movie on expecting to get your date in the mood for third base, you have been sorely misled. Showgirls will undoubtedly go down in history as the anti-sexy, but will always be remembered for its glorious over-acting, its wasted cinematography (the film's only legitimately good quality), and unintentional hilarity that can only be achieved by accident. Paul Verhoeven et al. seemingly gave it their worst shot when putting this film together, and the result is a beautiful tragedy that turned out nigh unwatchable, save for with a group of witty cohorts and a bottle of your favorite liquor.
This Showgirls Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack is loaded with all the right tools to turn any wayward teen into an honest-to-goodness stripper. As hard as the film tries to shine a negative light on the profession, the special features section hands up not one, but two instructional videos on how exactly to pole dance and do a proper striptease and lap dance. The pole-dancing feature is hosted by Teri Jaworski, but isn't exactly what you are probably hoping for. There are no naked boobs involved, which is a definite switch from the actual film. The host just shows off a few quick moves that you can learn to do around a pole. I highly suggest her moves over Nomi's. For the love of God, do not lick the stripper pole.
The real reason EVERYONE should own this, though, is for the commentary track dubbed by columnist David Schmader. This Blu-ray release has almost everything that was included with the Showgirls: V.I.P. Edition that came out several years ago, so this commentary track is nothing new to me, but even after hearing it half a dozen times, it remains endlessly hilarious, and will always be the best way to view the film.
Schmader doesn't make fun of the movie, per se. He simply lets the movie make fun of itself and points out why certain scenes are both irrevocably terrible and pure comedic genius, whether Paul Verhoeven meant them to be or not. His dry humor and occasional sound effects are well worth the price of purchase.
Of course, with a Blu-Ray you want to know how the picture quality is, and this time around I didn't notice much difference between the DVD and this high-def copy. The lights are brighter and the sparkles are sparklier, but ultimately you're still stuck watching Jesse Spano lick disease--ridden stripper poles and toast tortilla chips on special occasions. The quality of the print doesn't make any difference -- a polished turd is still a turd, albeit a shinier one.
The point to take home from all of this is that Showgirls: 15th Anniversary SINsational Edition is worth owning if you don't already have the V.I.P. Edition. Watching this movie without the commentary is excruciating and should be avoided at all cost, but David Schmader's sharp wit pushes this Blu-Ray into the "buy" category. Go pick it up as soon as possible.
Reviewed By: Will LeBlanc