Film Reviews

Joe Bob Briggs

First came topless dancing.
Then came table dancing. (This doesn't mean the tables dance, it means the girls dance on your table or at your table, even though sometimes the table is more attractive than the girl.)

Then came couch dancing.
And couch dancing begat lap dancing.
I think the logical next step here is Inside-Your-Pants Dancing.
But here's what I don't get about it:
Twenty bucks for three minutes? For a girl to rub up against you like a cat?

They didn't invent this in Thailand. Only American business ingenuity could come up with this. Lap dancing is pure-dee one hunnerd-percent domestic.

Anyhow, you know what I'm getting at here. You asked for it. You begged for it. You wondered aloud about it: "When is Joe Bob gonna do Showgirls?"

Because, let's face it, Showgirls was gone from the theaters so fast everybody thought it was some kinda elaborate pay-per-view plot.

And, sure enough, what turns up on pay-per-view 37,000 times a day?
What movie is so sleazy that, after you see it, you have to go to a Times Square live-sex show to feel better about mankind?

And what movie spent $40 million to produce live, bare-breast, Las Vegas follies shows that are actually cheesier and cheaper-looking than the real thing?

First there was Heaven's Gate.
Then Ishtar.
Then Hudson Hawk.

And now, at last, Showgirls, the only movie ever made where every single character is hated by the audience.

A reformed crackhead hooker goes to Vegas, lap-dances her way to the top, sleeps with the producer of a casino revue, shoves the star down a flight of stairs and becomes a diva.

Unfortunately, her best friend is gang-raped by a celebrity singing star, and our heroine blames herself.

Add in a little lesbo action and a classic performance by Robert Davi as the slimy topless-bar owner, and we've got a movie that drips so much sleaze on your shoes you're liable to track it all over the linoleum.

The highlight for me is the great lip-off between Gina Gershon, the casino star, and Elizabeth "I'm Not a Hooker" Berkley, the pelvis-thruster with an attitude.

These women have lips soooo big that they can't close their mouths. Look at the scene where they're sitting in the Caesar's Palace mall having crumpets. They must have had a budget of $2 million for lip gloss alone.

And while I'm on the subject--what is this thing with the lips? Forget breast enlargement. Some of these women in the movies have pumped up their lips bigger than their breasts.

And, of course, it's especially attractive when the lip curls up in a permanent sneer, like the girl's dad was a bad Elvis impersonator. Yuk.

OK, let's check those Showgirls totals...
No dead bodies. One hundred seventy breasts.
Four Vegas production numbers featuring volcanoes, S&M, motorcycles, and simulated gang rape.

One brawl. Knee to the groin.
Five nekkid-dancer dressing-room scenes. Multiple aardvarking.
Multiple lap dancing.
Excellent Chorus Line rip-off scene.
One catfight.
Two thrilling, on-the-job, career-ending dance injuries.
Rape. Gratuitous coke sniffing. Kung fu.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for...

* Gina Ravera, as the sweet G-string seamstress who says, "You're not a hooker, are you?"

* Glenn Plummer, as the only halfway-likeable character, a dancer with dreadlocks who says, "She dances like a truck."

* Robert Davi, as the topless-bar owner who says, "Put your nightie on," and a lot of other great lines that can't be printed here.

* Patrick Bristow, as the gay dance assistant who says, "She's all pelvic thrust--she prowls."

* Gina Gershon, as the cynical old diva who says, "It's amazing what paint and a surgeon can do," and, "You are a whore--we all are."

* Greg Travis, as the casino's oily director of publicity.
* And, of course, Elizabeth Berkley, as the herky-jerky dancer who aardvarks in the pool, stomps around like a constipated chicken and says, "Did you enjoy that out there! I hate you!"

One star.
Two stars for camp value.
Joe Bob says check it out.

Joe Bob's Find That Flick
This week's pate pounder comes from...Scott Borst of Lombard, Illinois:
"Help me! I've got a movie and I need a title. It was about this guy whose sole purpose seemed to be driving fast across the country.

"I don't believe he spoke a word for the entire movie. He drove a blue muscle car (something like an AMX or Charger), and spent the entire flick avoiding or outrunning the fuzz.

"He was helped by an old black disc jockey at a rural R&B radio station who had a police scanner in the studio. Between songs the DJ would warn the guy about where the cops were.

"I remember thinking, 'That must be one powerful radio station for this guy to be able to pick it up all across the country.'

"Finally, the cops took over the radio station and set up a roadblock that consisted of two bulldozers with their blades across the highway.

"In the end, our hero stopped about a quarter-mile from the roadblock, then drove at full speed right into the dozers. What movie is this?"

A video will be awarded for the correct answer. (The winner chooses from a list of about a thousand titles.) In the event of a tie, a drawing will be held. Send "Find That Flick" questions and solutions to Joe Bob Briggs, P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, Texas 75221. You can also fax them to (213) 462-5982 or e-mail them to Joe Bob on the Internet: [email protected]. (E-mail entries must include a postal mailing address.)

1996 Joe Bob Briggs (Distributed by NYT Special Features)

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Joe Bob Briggs