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Sunday, May 23, 2004

It's A Versase!

At about 11:30 last night one of the folks at the An American Book Of The DeadMeet-n'-Greet BBQ decided it would be really fun to watch Showgirls, Paul Verhoeven's 1995 Las Vegas trash epic.

Now, I must admit here and now: until last night (or more precisely very early this morning) I was a Showgirls "virgin", having never before subjected myself to this film. Sure, I remember reading the reviews, which almost universally panned the picture, and I'd heard all about it's over-the-top campiness, so I figured, what the heck and decided to stick around.

Now, I actually like a lot of the work director Paul Verhoeven has done: The Fourth Man, Soldier Of Orange, Robocop, Total Recall, Starship Troopers each has it's own particular style, and clearly he has a definite sense of what he's trying to do in each film, even if it isn't always clear to the audience. But after sitting through about 20 minutes of this, you can't help but wonder, what was he thinking? Verhoeven is known for injecting his films with a satirical point-of-view that is often lost on American audiences, and so if his intent here was to somehow poke fun at our consumer-driven culture of instant gratification (and certainly if there's one place in this country where such gratification reaches its zenith, it would have to be Las Vegas), the script itself (written by Joe Esterhas) is so inept, the acting so laughably wooden and the -- well, the incessant nudity and sex all combine to render a finished product that, while laughable is certainly one of the LEAST erotic things I've ever seen -- not that I've seen a lot mind you, but THIS poor film would definitely go near the bottom of the list.

If you've never seen the movie, I don't want to spoil the fun, but suffice to say it's so bad that one of my friends related when she saw it at a theatre, even the frat boys were making fun of it! It's the kind of film that just dares one to come up with snarky comments (a local film critic has even made a small sideline out of doing screenings of the film where he does what is purported to be an absolutely hillarious running commentary -- rumor has it he's slated to include his musings on a special DVD edition out soon). It even has it's own drinking game - a sure sign the product has crossed some imaginary line into cultural mockery - which evidentally revolves around taking a drink every time Nomi, the lead character "played" (and I use the term loosely) by Elizabeth Berkley storms out of a scene in a fit of pique; I stopped counting at 20, and we were only about half way through the movie. Suffice to say, we did NOT engage in the drinking game.

When the movie finally, mercifully ended at around 2:30 a.m. I drove home thinking, not only was that one of the WORST movies I've ever seen (ironically, another trash classic Santa Claus Conquers The Martians had been on TV earlier in the day), but it wasn't even very sexy! It was really just very, very sad and awful.

And I don't have the slightest desire to see it again anytime soon.

Posted byCOMTE on 9:14 PM

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