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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Showgirl" )

 

directed by Rena Riffel
USA 2011

 

Las Vegas stripper Penny Slot (Rena Riffel, STRIPTEASE) thinks she's on the road to fame when she meets a Hollywood producer - his business card literally says "Hollywood Producer" under his name - who wants to cast her in SHOWGIRLS 2. She has long dreamed to being on a TV dance variety show called "Stardancer" and soon ditches her boyfriend (Glenn Plummer, STRANGE DAYS) for the road. She hitches a ride with Jeff (Dewey Weber, THE DOOM GENERATION) who ditches her and steals her suitcase. She narrowly avoids being a victim of "The MILF Murderer" and makes off with a car and a purse full of cash, but is forced to hide out when she is seen at the crime scene by a detective (Hoyt Richards, SEVEN DAYS SEVEN NIGHTS) who - after finding the producer's business card - bides his time since he figures sooner or later she'll be on her way to Hollywood. Hiding out in style while trying to hone her craft, she catches the attention - she's not exactly discreet - of seemingly down-on-his-luck young violinist Godhardt Brandt (Peter Stickles, CEMETERY GATES) who has a thing for older women ("Women are like bananas. They're sweetest when they're ripe, before they shrivel. But you.... you're a banana split with a cherry on top... and nuts!") He however quickly shows his true colors when he is revealed to be a major figure in a occultist society (associated with theosophist Helena Blavatsky) with influence on the creative and business types in the area. Penny is put off when she discovers that Godhardt is engaged to ballerina Katya (Shelley Michelle, RISING SUN), but Godhardt introduces her to a foreign count who showers her with gifts. She is head over heels in love with her meal ticket until Godhardt shows up with her cut of his fee and she realizes that he has pimped her out and means to make it a regular arrangement; but she soon discovers that she still has a long way to sink when she tries to use Godhardt and his connections to get her the lead role on "Stardancer".

Let's start off by saying that SHOWGIRLS 2: PENNY'S FROM HEAVEN (the main character's name is Penny, ya see) is neither good nor so-bad-it's-good, but to dismiss it completely would be depriving one of "bad movie" viewers of such exchanges as:


     "Bitch, you stole my customer!"
     "Well, you stole my g-string!"


and


     "Girl, you're not dumb. You just play dumb."
     "Like a possum?"


Riffel says she was more inspired by VALLEY OF THE DOLLS than SHOWGIRLS (although there's certainly some MULHOLLAND DRIVE, in which she also appeared, there too). Riffel - who doesn't seem to have aged much at all in the interim - appears to be playing a different character while Plummer and Weber seem to be reprising their roles (albeit having all come down on hard times along with fellow returning cast member Greg Travis as a pawn shop proprietor who has Penny's number). Riffel does not appear to be anywhere near as delusional as her onscreen protagonist (other characters - some equally delusional - mention that she's too old to be just now learning how to dance professionally with hopes of becoming a star), but her performance - or at least her "Dorothy out of Kansas" take (which worked well for her in the Verhoeven film) - is not quite up to the level of camp to which she aspires (Stickles and Plummer fare better). Although the script reportedly went through twenty drafts (including a big budget one sent to Paul Verhoeven for consideration, as well as drafts that heavily reference THE WIZARD OF OZ in a manner suggesting more of a Lynchian influence), the structure feels rather haphazard and semi-improvised with the several plot developments popping up as other scenes (including some homage to scenes from the original film like the bookending appearances by Weber) run out of steam. There are far less demanding examples (it's difficult to tell if the two and a half hour running time is the product of a beginning filmmaker or an attempt to ape the original film's epic length) of T&A readily available, so this film is recommended solely to with a tolerance (or rather an appreciation, perverse or not) for would-be bad movies.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 17 September 2013 (USA)

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DVD Review: Wild Eye Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Wild Eye Releasing

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 2:25:00
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.22 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Wild Eye Releasing

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary by director/star Rena Riffel
• Lost Footage Reel (16:9; 2:26)
• Behind the Scenes Footage (16:9; 5:38)
• Hot Dog Scene Remix (16:9; 2:19)

DVD Release Date: September 17th, 2013
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Although treated to a dual-layer encode, Wild Eye's DVD of SHOWGIRLS 2 can't help but look inconsistent given the original photography and the combination of 35mm (footage from the short promo film she shot for Kickstarter), 8mm, and DSLR imaging. No complaints about the Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track that can't be blamed on the original location recording, although the musical dance scenes are fine and almost all of the dialogue is intelligible.

Star/director Rena Riffel goes it solo on a gap-filled commentary in which she discusses the project's origins, its funding (some of the contributors not only appear on camera but also hooked her up with certain locations), extending the parts of Plummer and Weber when they expressed interest, happy discoveries on location, changes and compromises made during shooting, and the four-and-a-half-hour-long initial cut. She briefly discusses the many script drafts, including the more elaborate one she sent to Paul Verhoeven for consideration. She is forthcoming about her mistakes as a filmmaker (choppy editing due to insufficient camera coverage) and not realizing just how much she would be fixing in post-production. Extras also include a brief behind the scenes segment, as well as a short selection of deleted scenes (although the director makes reference to more scenes and alternate - i.e. nude - alternate takes of other scenes), as well as a "remix" of the hot dog scene which is something of a music video.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Wild Eye Releasing

Region 0 - NTSC

 




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