was a 1995 sexploitation film directed by Paul Verhoeven. The only movie to receive a wide release under the NC-17 rating, this tale of the lives of 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).
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.
Common reactions are split between thinking it's a campy, So Bad, It's Good
, Cult Classic
or just plain bad. On the one hand, it's fun and sexy and full of ridiculous dialogue; on the other hand, it's got a gratuitous brutal rape scene near the end for no discernible reason. It doesn't quite seem to know if it's a comedy or drama or a combination of the two or something else entirely, although some have called it a satire of the human condition and the relationships between women, a non-trashy movie about trashy people, a Stealth Parody
of misogynistic exploitation films, or simply a bad movie
.A direct-to-video sequel was produced in 2011
Showgirls provides examples of:
- All Asians are Alike / Mistaken Nationality: In universe: A businessman named Okita (a Japanese surname) is said to be from Bangkok.
- Asshole Victim: Andrew Carver
- Baby Trap: Apparently, happened to James.
- Bechdel Test: Passes.
- Black Best Friend: Molly.
- Book Dumb: Nomi's mispronouncing 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: Poor, poor Molly.
- Camp Gay: Several of the male dancers
- Chekhov's Gun: The stairs at the Goddess.
- Chorus Girls
- Conveniently an Orphan: Nomi
- Depraved Bisexual: Cristal
- Dog Food Diet: Nomi is sheepish about having to eat it once. Cristal, on the other hand, is perfectly open about developing a taste for Doggie Chow.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Nomi is perfectly willing to do what came down to live, on-stage lesbian sex, screwing her boss to get a higher position, and pushing the lead dancer down the stairs to get her job, but she won't use ice cubes to make her nipples perky. You have to draw the line somewhere.
- Fanservice: The movie's sole raison d'être.
- Fee Fi Faux Pas: Nomi humiliates herself in an interview by mispronouncing "Versace".
- From the Mouths of Babes: Inverted. One showgirl brings her kids into the dressing room, and while neither of them notice or care about being surrounded by topless women, they go ballistic when another woman swears at them.
- Gratuitous Rape: Molly is beaten and raped by a client right before she would have had sex with him anyway. And the whole incident is irrelevant to the rest of the plot.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Nomi turns to fly off the handle at other people for any reason— or no reason at all.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: The biker stage show.
- Idealized Sex: The legendary pool sex scene.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Word for word.
- 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.
- 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!"
- Meaningful Name: Nomi Malone. Because she's trying to hide her past (No Me) and she feels all alone in the world (Malone).
- 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.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Andrew Carver is obviously inspired by Michael Bolton.
- 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 kicking the ever-loving shit out of rapist Andrew Carver.
- Ping Pong Naïveté: Nomi, and how.
- Rape as Drama
- 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.
- Sassy Black Woman: Annie
- Staircase Tumble
- Two-Person Pool Party: The one in this film (NSFW) is infamous.
- Where Da White Women At?: James with Nomi and Hope.
- 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.