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Showgirls DVD Sexes it Up

LOS ANGELES — It was 42nd Street with pasties, All About Eve with a G-string. Only those movies were cinema classics, while Showgirls was so bad that adjectives such as awful, wretched and appalling somehow seemed too kind.

But if a film festers in video stores long enough, its audience eventually will sniff it out.

Since it imploded critically and commercially in 1995, Showgirls has gained such a fringe following of movie masochists that distributor MGM has released a “VIP Edition” DVD set, playing up the film’s campy atrociousness.

The elaborate package includes shot glasses and playing cards for Showgirls drinking games; glossy pictures of star Elizabeth Berkley; plus pasties, a blindfold and a poster of Berkley for a “pin-the-pasties-on-the-showgirl” game.

Among DVD extras are a tutorial on how to give a lap dance and audio commentary titled The Greatest Movie Ever Made.

“We’ve targeted the DVD release to adults who have embraced the campy, fun and even outrageous aspects of the film and provided extras that deliver on that notion,” Blake Thomas, MGM executive vice-president for worldwide marketing, said in a statement.

Still skittish over Showgirls, MGM executives declined interviews for this story. But the studio clearly has recovered from the drubbing well enough to realize it can recoup some of its bad investment by mocking the movie.

“They’re finally allowed to admit what they have on their hands and run with it as fast and hard as they can,” said David Schmader, a writer and monologuist in Seattle who provides the Showgirls DVD commentary.

Directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by Joe Eszterhas, the team behind Basic Instinct, Showgirls was meant to kick open the door for mainstream acceptance of adult-only movies. Instead, the movie was laughed out of theatres after grossing only $20 million US, half what it cost to make.

For critics, Showgirls was like shooting fish in a barrel with a Gatling gun. Berkley took the worst of it for her garish masquerade as a stripper turned Vegas showgirl but the movie also was a career low for co-stars Kyle MacLachlan and Gina Gershon. The actors declined interviews for this story.



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