Overwhelming dislike - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 19
  2. Negative: 13 out of 19

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Critic Reviews

  1. 63
    Who knew such a seamy swim in the misogynistic swill of life could be so entertaining?
  2. The New Republic
    Reviewed by: Stanley Kauffmann
    What matters much more than the story or the Spicy Stuff is the dancing, the show-biz dancing. It's electric. Exciting. And there's lots of it. [23 Oct 1995]
  3. As Nomi, Elizabeth Berkley has exactly two emotions -- hot and bothered -- but her party-doll blowsiness works for the picture.
  4. 50
    If the plot and screenplay are juvenile, the production values are first-rate, and the lead performance by newcomer Elizabeth Berkley has a fierce energy that's always interesting.
  5. Chicago Tribune
    Reviewed by: Gene Siskel
    The film's big lap-dance sequence is impressive, however, if only for the sheer athleticism of Elizabeth Berkley's contortion. Later, when she pulls the same stunt in a swimming pool, we recognize the show for what it is--a male fantasy film in which the women are little more than rag dolls. [22 Sept 1995]
  6. Christian Science Monitor
    Reviewed by: David Sterritt
    In its depiction of the Las Vegas nightclub scene and in its own cinematic strategies, the film is quite instructive about the intersection of sex, money, and entertainment in some areas of popular American culture. [29 Sept 1995]
  7. To take Showgirls that seriously (as either trash-art or appalling pornography) wouldn't be worth the exertion.
  8. After an onslaught of prerelease hype promising the erotic experience of a lifetime, Showgirls reveals itself as a 131-minute dose of cinematic saltpeter.
  9. What's completely baffling is that everyone in the film thinks Nomi is one heck of a dancer, even though her one move -- throwing her arms out stiffly -- is straight out of "Dr. Strangelove."
  10. 20
    This film is just a coarser, dumber, smuttier remake of the 1983 Eszterhas-penned "Flashdance," throbbing music, working-class Cinderella and all.
  11. 12
    This film is like a shiny, red apple that's rotten to the core -- despite slick direction and a glossy sheen, it reeks of decay. Showgirls isn't a good drama, a good thriller, or even good pornography.
  12. The story is so shabbily built that it can make no valid claim to motives other than the filmmakers' mercenary desires to cash in on the public's prurient interests. And even on this bottom-feeder level, Showgirls fails to deliver the goods.
  13. That Berkley cannot act is indisputable. But her dancing looks like a seizure.
  14. Lacking the combustible Sharon Stone and Michael Douglas in leading roles, Showgirls descends into incoherent tedium. Though the filmmakers' incessant talk about vision, artistry and honest self-expression lead one to expect a sexually explicit biopic about the Dalai Lama, what is in fact provided is depressing and disappointing as well as dehumanizing.
  15. There's nothing even mildly intriguing, or remotely galvanizing, about Showgirls.
  16. The cynicism of the writer and director smacks of such self-hatred (fully acknowledged in the film's closing shot) that their disgust spills over onto all their characters (and their audience too), and inasmuch as everybody here is one kind of whore or another at virtually every moment, the fine moral distinctions this movie insists on making sometimes seem about as arcane and as loony as medieval theology about angels dancing on the heads of pins.
  17. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Impossibly vulgar, tawdry and coarse, this much-touted major studio splash into NC-17 waters is akin to being keelhauled through a cesspool, with sharks swimming alongside.
  18. The New York Times
    Reviewed by: Elvis Mitchell
    The film makers had declared they were bravely exploring new levels of licentiousness, but the biggest risk they've taken here is making a nearly $40 million movie without anyone who can act. The absence of both drama and eroticism turns Showgirls into a bare-butted bore. [22 Sept 1995]
  19. Time
    Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Obscene level of incompetence, excessive inanity in the story line, gross negligence of the viewer's intelligence, a prurient interest in the quick buck. [2 Oct 1995]
User Score

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 155 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 41
  2. Negative: 13 out of 41
  1. Feb 1, 2013
    Eh....I don't find this movie so sexy. I'm a dude, and I guess I'm suppose to say this is so erotic and watch it over and over again just toEh....I don't find this movie so sexy. I'm a dude, and I guess I'm suppose to say this is so erotic and watch it over and over again just to see some seductive garbage. But this was just very disturbing. I'll admit that Elizabeth Berkeley who was also from "Saved by the Bell" is very attractive, but her acting is like she's trying to be sexy. As gorgeous as she is, it didn't help out a lot. She shows her breasts.....too many times. I'll be honest as a man, I always wanted to see her boobs. But after the 3rd time, it got really tiring very fast. My reaction was, (YES, she has nice t*ts, enough!) Also....the plot was so disturbing. I just don't understand what the plot this is trying to show me, its just bizarre. This was really hard for me to sit through, it's not worth the time....okay, maybe just one sit through the movie if you like bizarre erotic films with lots of stripping, Elizabeth Berkeley's t*ts and lap dance, weird sex and mediocre softcore porn. Full Review »
  2. Dec 25, 2012
    One of the worst movies. It has decent acting compared to a porn movie. The acting is plain bad. The main character can only express twoOne of the worst movies. It has decent acting compared to a porn movie. The acting is plain bad. The main character can only express two feelings: anger and lust. The story is really the low end of Hollywood screenplays. It is nothing more than a soft-core porn movie. The girls were looking good. There is no other reason to see this. Full Review »
  3. Mar 11, 2013
    I am first of all going to point out what everyone else so has failed to do. Which is, point out that this film is LOADED with feminist ideas.I am first of all going to point out what everyone else so has failed to do. Which is, point out that this film is LOADED with feminist ideas. It's worth noting that the only positive review by an actual critic is also by a woman. Coincidence? My basic contention is that this film is merely masquerading as a high-camp sexploitation "comedy" (I didn't find it that funny). Instead, I found myself mostly admiring the protagonist, and at the point where your sympathy begins to wane, the film skillfully manipulates you once again back into that position. In a sense, this woman is a precursor to Joss Whedon's relaunch of Buffy, only this girl is more vulnerable, 'damaged', real. Secondly, if this really were a "man's" film, would literally EVERY single man in it be a giant sleezing, exploitative, repulsive d-bag? There is literally not one straight man in the film who is not completely abhorrent. Chris Katan has a brief scene as one of the gay male dancers, and all he does is make fun of another guy for being chauvinistic. And never are any of them 'forgiven' or presented sympathetically for the viewer to redeem.
    • People are making the mistake that this film is supposed to be 'erotic'. It's not about eros, it's about exploitation, especially male exploitation of women—but not for the film. You'll notice that all the breasts and sex in the film function not to titillate the viewer, but to illustrate that every single one of them are doing this for economic advantage and are part of an exchange process. The film's protagonist is struggling to stay above what is regarded socially as the lowest rung of this economic ladder, and her attempts to hold onto dignity and respect are almost microcosmic precursors to the Slutwalk movement which demands the same thing. Furthermore, as a Canadian viewing this film, I find it particularly ironic the continual condemnation by critics of the prevalent presence of breasts—which, here, are perfectly legal and uncontroversial. Already armed with this disposition, it was perfectly obvious that they aren't there for me, the viewer's enjoyment—they're there because these are women who are *working* in an environment which demands it, and this film is about the difficulty existing in such an environment. Now, I would never actually give this film a "10"—but I am, for the purposes of improving its Metacritic rating, which I think is quite low. Oh, and at 2hrs11min long, really: would a be that long? Think about it.
    Full Review »