Review: Showgirls 15th Anniversary Blu-ray ‘Sinsational Edition’

Showgirls 15th Anniversary Blu-ray Sinsational Edition
Showgirls 15th Anniversary Blu-ray Buy on Amazon

High on kitsch and low on class, Showgirls (15th Anniversary Sinsational Edition) (MGM/UA, 1995), remains a sleazefest of big-budget proportions, with an allure that seems strange, but hey… the film does have its fans amongst serious critics, filmmakers and the general public, though mostly it’s deemed as fun because of its “so bad, it’s good” reputation… it’s often termed “shit-astic!”

Joe Esterhaus’s reported $2mil. script is appropriately lurid (the kind of thing that Roger Ebert would write for Russ Meyer) and Paul Verhoven brings an earnest sensibility to it all that makes the on-the-nose dialogue about the tough lives of strippers and showgirls all the more hilarious, and makes scenes like the famous swimming pool sex scene (complete with one of the most bizarre quasi-p0rn0 org@smz you’ll probably ever see) even more unintentionally hilarious than they should be.

Well, what can you really say about a film whose most salient quotes are “You ARE a whore” and “Thrust it! Thrust it! Thrust it– THRUST IT!” It’s review-proof and, well, a lot of fun, especially if you form some type of drinking game around it. Nowadays, the full-frontal nudity, mostly female with only fleeting shots of Kyle’s MacLachlan in comparison, is hardly a big deal… if you’ve seen one set of glistening boobs, y’know.

Elizabeth Berkley gives a fearless performance that won a well-deserved Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Acting (and Worst New Star), and Gina Gershon makes for a fine domineering lesbian showgirl at the top of the heap, until Berkley’s ingénue brings her down (a flight of stairs). So, is the Blu-ray worth buying just to see the scene where Gershon and Berkley bond over choices of dog food and breasts?

Considering this movie really found its audience through midnight theatrical screenings and home video where it developed cult status, I’d say the Blu-ray is a must-own if only for the crazy material contained within the film… but you also get an AVC-encoded 1080p/2.35:1 widescreen presentation that looks “sensational” according to early reviewers. The hot, garish colors of Vegas are captured perfectly on Blu-ray and the film hardly looks its age. High-definition allows the details to come through… every sparkling rhinestone, every bit of neon is displayed with minimal grain and low incidents of DNR.

The audio acquits itself nicely with a DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix that offers pristine dialogue from center and surround channels while thudding along with musical numbers on the rear channels with low-frequency effects making the sound feel well-rounded. The real treat reviewers have found is that the special features are mostly in HD with a “Find Your Inner Stripper” Pole Dancing instructional video that will have your ass sliding all around the brass, and a “Lap Dance Tutorial (featuring the World-Famous Girls of Scores)” where the girls of Scores show you how to earn a few extra bucks the easy way.

The Blu-ray also features an audio commentary by columnist/critic, David Schmader called “The Greatest Movie Ever Made” (without tongue being planted firmly in cheek), and a “Showgirls Diary” that’s really a few deleted scenes with storyboards and onset video. Along with an additional trivia feature and HD theatrical trailer there’s a DVD boner bonus disc for the family van.

With all of that, and a top-notch audio and video transfer it stands to reason that this is a must-own for fans of trash cinema and HD fans alike… but should you, the general movie fan, pick it up to own? As always, give it a whirl on rental first… if it gets a rise out of you, then perhaps you should plop down the bucks for the Blu-ray (in one-dollar bills, of course).