There’s a part of the brain that will always react to seeing nudity on the screen, especially when we’re in the throes of puberty. But as we mature, we usually become a little more picky and maybe we require more than a flash of bare skin. That’s the challenge that filmmakers are faced with when they use sex to tell a story: They have to seduce the audience.
Screenwriter Joe Eszterhas knows a little bit about that. The king of mainstream erotic cinema in the ’90s, Eszterhas wrote Basic Instinct, Jade, Sliver, and, of course, 1995’s NC-17 rated Showgirls, which starred Saved by the Bell alum Elizabeth Berkley as Nomi, a stripper with big dreams who finds the darker side of fame in Las Vegas. But while Basic Instinct is considered a classic, Jade has been all but forgotten, and Sliver is (maybe unfairly) dismissed as just bad, people still don’t know how to classify Showgirls. Is it a cult classic? A satire? Is it a big-budget skin flick? How about this: Is it even erotic?
Part of the problem with Showgirls is that it offers little more than wall-to-wall nudity in its attempts titillate. There is no real seduction. With that in mind, and with the urge to look back due to the film’s landmark anniversary, it seemed like a good time to take a look back at Showgirls‘ many nude scenes and rank the five least sexy ones.
Warning: Some of the situations discussed and the images used in this article are mildly NSFW.
5. The Lap Dance
Cristal (Gina Gershon) brings her boyfriend Zack (Kyle MacLachlan) to Nomi’s club and orders up a lap dance. Nomi, eager to prove her sexual superiority to her arrival, applies more effort to the task than seems standard, grinding into Zack’s probably Versace-covered crotch while eye-f*cking Cristal. The whole thing ends with a small preview of Nomi’s spastic orgasmic gymnastic routine and an awkward conversation between Zack and his dry cleaner.
Is it sexy? This is, of course, all subjective, but the Sergio-level saxophoning? Oh, indeed. Otherwise, it depends on your kink. Into the whole “watching” thing or the whole fully nude Saved by the Bell alum thing? Then this will probably do if the sight of MacLachlan’s O-face doesn’t derail the experience.
4. Nomi’s Real Audition
Cristal pulls down Nomi’s shirt while what sounds like a lost song from the score of Bram Stoker’s Dracula plays in the background.
Is it sexy? Not really, mainly because the combination of the music and Gershon’s hungered stare make me think that Jessie Spano is about to have her face eaten and her soul devoured. (#metaphor)
3. Enter, Goddess
Cristal (Gina Gershon) rises from the bowels of a Las Vegas casino theater to tell a solemn tale about fireworks and the dawn of man with lava, rocks, and gold lamé while an eager and enthralled Nomi looks on while imagining that she might one day be a star.
Is it sexy? Eh. I mean, there are breasts and scantily clad men and women frolicking and tumbling about, but not really. The later show number featuring Nomi, Cristal, the set from the last dance in Staying Alive, motorbikes, leather, and chains may qualify as sexy if you’re into any of those things and the sound of the audience occasionally letting out an occasional (and surely unprompted) “ooooh” noise from time to time. That’s because Las Vegas audiences love a simulated gangbang as much as they love $1.99 shrimp.
2. The Nude Vigilante
After her friend Molly (Gina Ravera) is raped by Andrew Carver (William Shockley), Nomi quickly responds by luring the Jesus-haired singer into a romantic situation before pulling a switchblade on him and then toplessly destroying him with a series of ninja kicks, stomps, and pained expressions.
Is it sexy? Not even a little. Nomi is righteously kicking the crap out of a rapist. She just happens to be shirtless while doing it.
1. Extreme Pool Sexing
After a night out on the town, Zack is all like, “Hey, babe. Wanna take a look at my neon trees and stone dolphins?” and Nomi is all, “Hell yes, I do!” So, they go back to his mansion and do it in the pool.
Is it sexy? At first, because, according to movies, pool sex is the height of fantasy. But this one goes in stages. As Nomi and Zack prepare for their ascent toward bliss, things are pretty sexy because of the wetness and MacLachlan’s emo hair.
In terms of vigor, the pace is real-life high-side/porn-life low-side, and that’s fine. But then, the rodeo begins and Nomi quickly begins to have what can only be described as a grand mal orgasm, while Zack tries to give her a sin-baptism by dunking her in the water (#metaphor) and this is how penises break and pool-sex fantasies become nightmares!
Due to the restraints of good taste and not being a porn site, we can’t show you the video, but this is a good approximation of MacLachlan’s contributions.
Pretty clear what they were going for, but it’s hard to feel good about this from a sanitary standpoint.