Film: Showgirls

"You are a whore, darlin. We all are. We take the cash, we cash the check, we show ‘em what they wanna see."
Cristal Connors

Showgirls was a 1995 sexploitation film written by Joe Eszterhas and directed by Paul Verhoeven. The only movie to receive a wide release under the NC-17 rating, this tale of the lives of Las Vegas strippers set to the plot of 42nd Street may have been partially responsible for the rating's decline; it was basically an X-rated movie that went through the ratings process (which actually isn't required for an X rating; anyone wanting to make an X-rated movie will gladly release it as such on their own). That said, however, when compared to the explicitness of today's cable television series even the unrated version of the movie would barely qualify for an R-rating today.

The film tells the tale of Nomi Malone (Elizabeth Berkley), a country girl who hitchhikes to Las Vegas in hopes of becoming "a dancer" and eventually (after a lot of nudity, a lot of sleaze, a little violence, and a lot of choreographed numbers) making her way to the top.

A direct-to-video sequel was produced in 2011.

This film provides examples of:

  • At Least I Admit It: Cristal considers herself a type of whore and calls Nomi out for denying it when she's trying to get the same job.
  • Baby Trap: James ends up getting engaged to Hope/Penny because he has gotten her pregnant.
  • Berserk Button: Nomi really hates being called a whore and being asked to be one.
  • Black Best Friend: Molly to the white protagonist, Nomi.
  • Book Dumb: Nomi's repeated mispronounciation of "Versace."
  • Book Ends: The film ends with Nomi catching the same car with the same guy who drove her to Vegas in the beginning. It is implied that she will go back to attacking people and being a hooker, like she did before the events of the movie.
  • Break the Cutie: Molly goes through this when she is brutally raped by Andrew Carver and his guards and no charges are filed because he's a celebrity.
  • Camp Gay: Several of the male dancers, who mock the single straight dancer in the troupe.
  • Informed Ability:
    • Nomi is supposed to be a brilliant dancer, but if you actually watch her dance she's not all that good.
    • She's also supposed to be streetwise, but she really seems naive at times and falls for things someone genuinely streetwise never would have.
  • Informed Attractiveness: There is a lot of fuss made about Nomi's hotness, particularly her breasts, which actually aren't that special.
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures / Mistaken Nationality: In universe: A businessman named Okita (a Japanese surname) is said to be from Bangkok.
  • It's Not Porn, It's Art: This movie is/was intended to be a social commentary on the sex industry (and maybe capitalism in general) and a satire of Hollywood 'rising star' narratives. That's not the reason most people watch the movie, however.
  • Jizzed in My Pants: Zack gets the full treatment when Nomi gives him a lap dance.
  • Karmic Rape: Andrew Carver's fate at Nomi's hands.
  • Klingon Promotion: Nomi gets the lead in Goddess after shoving Cristal down the stairs. Cristal apparently did the same thing to get her first lead. It's implied that this is pretty much how the showgirl hierarchy works.
  • Lame Comeback: "You're gonna jump to your conclusion!"
  • Mama Bear: Julie is sort of this. Although she had already had a lot of tension between her and Angie it seems to have taken Angie upsetting Julie's children that caused her to sabotage Angie and thus break her leg.
  • Straw Misogynist: Most men, apparently, only see women as sex objects.
    • And then there is Henrietta "Mama" Bazoom who seems to be an in-universe example seeing as what she does at the Cheetah is basically tell misogynistic jokes even though off-stage certain dialogue suggest it's all an act.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Nomi Malone. Because she's trying to hide her past (No Me) and she feels all alone in the world (Malone).
    • Otherise, No, I'm Alone.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted. James doesn't believe Nomi has her period, so she challenges him to check... and he does. With his fingers. She wasn't lying.
  • Not So Different: Cristal is proud of Nomi for having lied, cheated, and backstabbed her way to the top because she did the exact same thing to the lead showgirl before.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Nomi kicks the ever-loving shit out of rapist Andrew Carver.
  • Real Men Hate Affection: Al's parting line to Nomi ("Must be weird...not to have anyone...come on you.") is intended as a heartfelt farewell.
  • Recycled In SPACE: This movie is basically any number of backstage movies (particularly All About Eve and 42nd Street) set in the world of X-rated Vegas revues.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!/Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Andrew isn't charged for raping Molly because he's a celebrity and Nomi's boss helps cover it up. Subverted as Nomi tracks him down and makes him suffer for it.
  • Sex for Services: Most women, apparently, use this to get ahead in life. A few standout examples include Nomi and her boss, James and Penny and heavily implied with Cristal.
  • Sleeping with the Boss: Nomi eventually sleeps with her new stage boss to get ahead (she had already given him a lapdance when she was still a stripper and not employed by him). The other girls call her out on this because they have an unwritten rule against it, though it's implied at least some of them have also broken this rule.
  • Staircase Tumble: The one in this film is infamous. Cristal is shoved down the stairs by Nomi in a fit of pique.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Nomi. After puking on Molly's car then being saved by Molly, Nomi still cusses her out and acts petulant when Molly offers her a place to live.
  • Where Da White Women At?: James two onscreen love interests are Nomi and Penny who are both white.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Just as Cristal has almost successfully seduced Nomi, she tells her "Y'see, darlin'? You are a whore." causing her to snap out of it and storm off.