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By Michael Ferraro | August 19, 2004

Every year in cinema history a film comes along that, for some obvious reason or another, becomes a victim to harsh critical panning and a terrible word of mouth reception from audiences. Last year two films felt this kind of wrath. Critics and audiences alike mauled “Gigli” and “From Justin to Kelly” so hard, that they literally fell from the public eye faster than a shooting star. Other films get some okay press and great box office return due to strong fan basis of either the series or a certain director, but that doesn’t discount it from the beating it so rightly deserves. Case in point, George Lucas blessed us with the year’s most beloved monstrosity in 2002 with “Star Wars Episode II: The Attack of the Clones.” But audiences loved it and critics seemed pleased enough, merely due to the fact that Jar-Jar Binks had less screen time.

The worst film of 1995 however, told the simple tale of Nomi Malone (Elizabeth Berkley). Nomi is a screaming, kicking, whining, flailing, littering bad a*s that heads out to Vegas to become a “dancer.” Dancer is of course, sophisticate talk for stripping. Paul Verhoeven’s “Showgirls” is a magnum opus of the absurd. The staging and choreography of the lap-dance moves are completely outrageous while the infamous sex scene in the pool is outlandish in its approach to imitating the lovemaking technique of a fish out of water. Even the music is ear piercing and the wardrobes are sure to cause blindness.

All of these ingredients however, are the elements that caused this picture to become the bizarre cult classic that it is. The new V.I.P. Edition DVD is the ultimate gift to the “Showgirls” aficionado, and the creators understood perfectly that this is a film best viewed under the influence. It comes complete with two shot glasses, a deck of cards, and numerous “Showgirls” related drinking games (like the “ABC’s of T&A”). The best part of this box set however, is sure to be a treat to all of you out there that realized it wasn’t Kelly of “Saved by the Bell” that made the show viewable…it was Jessie Myrtle Spano . The “Pin the Pasties on the Showgirl” game completes the box set with a poster of Berkley (topless of course), two pasties and a blindfold for hours of drunken fun.

The DVD itself also has plenty of goodies on it. For you ladies out there, a lap-dance tutorial featuring the girls of Scores (the strip club Howard Stern always cheers for) is included to improve your lap-dance technique and better please your partner. If it actually works, however, is another discussion. To further enhance your knowledge and understanding of this film, an excellent “Pop Up Video” style trivia track can be played simultaneously while viewing the film. A video diary by Paul Verhoeven, complete with behind the scenes footage and storyboards, is also included.

Another fine addition to this box set is a tongue-and-cheek commentary by “Showgirls” enthusiast David Schmader who claims that this film is both “the greatest two and a half hours of our lives,” and “the most misunderstood work of art of the 20th century.” He then carefully examines Joe Eszterhas’ brilliantly moronic screenplay and his ability to tap into the female psyche. Apparently in Eszterhas’ world, women only converse about their nails, eat chips and ask each other what their breasts look like today. How this film earned a Worst Screenplay Razzie award (as well as 6 others), is truly beyond my comprehension.

While this is a bad film that is both fun and painful to watch, the fact that it lasts as long as it does (over 2 hours) really hurts its chances for a higher star rating. That being said, the “Showgirls” V.I.P. Edition DVD is by far one of the finer DVD releases of the year and a worthy escort to those of you that love bad movies. With all this set has to offer, one could throw themselves a “Showgirls” party with endless drinking game choices abounds. To rephrase a quote from the film by Glenn Plummer, “You want tits and a*s? This film gives you tits and a*s.”

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