Stars: Elizabeth Berkley, Kyle MacLachlan, Gina Gershon, Glenn Plummer, Robert David, Alan Rachins, Gina Ravera. Written by Joe Eszterhas. Directed by Paul Verhoeven. Rated NC-17 for rampant nudity, sexual situations, profanity.

"Showgirls" is another unabashedly sexual film from the director of "Basic Instinct", Paul Verhoeven. In this film, a young woman journeys to Las Vegas to become a dancer and discovers the ultra-competitive subculture of the Vegas showgirl. The nudity, which is in virtually every scene of the movie, isn't gratuitous given the subject matter, but one wonders if the film could made do with much less and maintained its artistic integrity.

Elizabeth Berkley, known only for a long-running role on the teen television series "Saved By the Bell", plays Nomi Malone as a naive, but not innocent, newcomer to the flashy lifestyle of the gambling mecca. Starting her professional career as a stripper and "lap dancer" for a lesser casino/hotel, she eventually lands a role in the prestigious "Goddess" show put on by the Stardust. The show's lead, Cristal Connors (Gina Gershon), becomes alternately her sponsor and her rival. Their relationship seems to be in a constant state of flux. Also a person of indeterminate allegiance is the hotel's entertainment director Zack Carey (Kyle MacLachlan) who becomes intimate with both of these women.

At 145 minutes, and feeling twice that, "Showgirls" goes on much too long. It's a pity, really, because there were several appropriate ending points the film makers could have chosen rather than the hokey one they went with. The actors and actresses all do a credible job, but the material they have been given to work with makes casino dancing look more cutthroat than a presidential election. But the big problem with "Showgirls" is that, like a glittery, glamourous Vegas show, it has been overproduced.

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