A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 95 – Showgirls

Showgirls – June 3rd, 2010

This is a wretched movie. It’s wretched for so very many reasons, not the least of which is that the main character, Nomi, is thoroughly unlikable. Are you supposed to root for her? I have no idea. I’ve always thought she was horrible. In fact, a large number of characters in this movie are unlikable. Most of the women, aside from Molly and Gay. Pretty much all the guys except the ones in the corps at the Stardust. I think James is supposed to be semi-likable? I’m not sure. He sees through pretty much everyone around Nomi, and he sees through her too, but he’s also a complete jackass. Really, everyone’s two-faced and obnoxious and petty and they suck. The acting is scenery-chewing at its very hammiest, with the hammiest of hams being Elizabeth Berkeley. At least Gina Gershon admits she knew she was in a total cheesefest and played it to the hilt. The script is nothing special – believe me – and the story isn’t special either. So what this movie has going for it is the tits. And it has plenty of those. Tits-ahoy. The movie never misses a chance to show them off.

I want to say right here and now, the reason we put this in tonight is because Tyce Diorio, one of the choreographers on So You Think You Can Dance, is one of the male dancers. Oh, he doesn’t have a speaking role, but we did spot him. He’s got long messy hair and helps Nomi strip out of her costume during her debut performance in Goddess. I laughed for a full three minutes when we spotted him. Oh, Tyce. This is the second movie we have with him (the first being Robin Hood: Men in Tights). And, you know, the dancing’s not horrible. The corps is fine. But tonight’s SYTYCD auditions will be a balm after this movie. Even the Montage of Shame will be easier to watch than Elizabeth Berkeley.

So okay, Nomi Malone, whose name isn’t really Nomi Malone but whatever, we’ll get to that, hitchhikes her way to Vegas to become a dancer. Obviously it’s not easy and when she gets there the guy she hitchhiked in with ditches her and steals her suitcase. She gets all pissed off and beats up a stranger’s car. Good for her that stranger is the Nicest Girl In Vegas and buys her a meal and offers to let her crash at her place. Molly, as I’ve mentioned, is one of the few likable characters in the movie. She is a truly nice person, which means that when Nomi gets a job in the corps for the show Molly’s a costume assistant for and immediately gets involved in the bitchery and politics and fucking around that go on in the cast, Molly gets a front row seat to watch her friend learn some first class nastiness. Except it’s pretty clear that Nomi was well-versed in backstabbing and screwing people over (figuratively and literally) so the petty disputes of the other corps girls is all old news. To learn anything new, Nomi has to watch the star of the show, Cristal Connors. Cristal teaches a masters class in mean and she’s sleeping with the “Entertainment Director” (Kyle MacLachlan as Zack) for the hotel the show’s at. By the end of the movie Nomi’s slept with him too and pushed Cristal down a flight of stairs to get the lead.

Somewhere in there Nomi also meets a guy, James, who has a thing for her and wants to write a piece for her to dance to, but like I said, while sometimes he seems to be a decent guy? It turns out he’s not. At all. She also has a weirdly fond goodbye with the owner of the strip club she started at, and then there’s the whole thing with Cristal. They spend the whole movie testing each other and shoving each other and it’s flat out stated by Zack that Cristal has a thing for Nomi. And then they kiss in Cristal’s hospital room and it’s certainly not chaste. So it’s unclear exactly what’s going on there, but, you know, who cares, right? Tits! Look! Tits and sex and Nomi gets her big role and she’s on top of the world!

You’d think that would be the end, except no. The movie apparently realized it had made its lead thoroughly despicable and had to give her some sort of redemption. After all, she started out penniless and hopeless and ended up with a starring role in a huge Vegas show. So having her be unlikable just won’t cut it. She’s got to be likable somehow! And how was that done? Well, poor Molly, who is far too nice for this movie, gets raped by a rock star she’s a fan of (and whom Nomi introduced her to) and Nomi goes to his hotel and kicks him in the face a lot. That’s her redemption. She kicks the shit out of her friend’s rapist. And you know, I’m not arguing with getting some revenge in on the guy, but the movie sets up the only truly likable person in the entire cast and has her raped so Nomi can have a redemption arc. I have no words. What can I say about that? And then we find out Nomi used to be a prostitute and her father killed her mother and that’s why she’s had such an attitude through the whole movie. Might have been better for the character if they’d explained that earlier on so you knew why she was pulling a knife on people. Oh, and then she hitchhikes away from Vegas. I think. It’s really unclear.

What I take away from this movie is that the only way to live in Vegas (or rather, the Vegas in the movie – having only been to Vegas once I can’t speak for the actual city) is to be despicable. Nice folks like Molly should just steer clear, apparently. Nice doesn’t work in Vegas. Nice gets you hurt. But then, being a bitch eventually gets you hurt too. So maybe the actual thing I take away from this movie is that a woman can get to the top if she’s mean enough and willing to kick or kiss the asses of her friends and associates. The only ones who ever really win are the men who already have the money. I somehow doubt that was the actual intent of the movie, but that’s the message.

June 3, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | , ,

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