WGTC Weekly Throwdown: Unsexiest Scenes Of Love-Making

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Gem – Showgirls

Some film scholars have considered Showgirls to be a remake of the 1950s classic, All About Eve. The Bette Davis vehicle conjured up back stabbing ingénues who become slowly corrupted by the lures of fame and fortune. So, in that sense, it IS similar. The biggest update Showgirls embraced to accommodate its cinematic climate was the sex. For a flick about showgirls in Las Vegas, you could surmise that its NC-17 rating wasn’t earned by its harsh language. No. It was the shagging.

The debate surrounding Showgirls often lies in its objectification of women, atrocious dialogue, puddle-deep characterisations and so on. That’s why since its release in 1995 it has metamorphosed from a Razzie Award winning joke, to a midnight-showing cult favourite.

When your lead character, an attractive drifter turned showgirl played by Elizabeth Berkeley, previously graced TV screens as a wholesome apple-pie gal in Saved By The Bell – it’s no surprise that she was desperate to shed the shackles of nicety. It would seem that during her duplicitous tryst with Kyle McLachlan in a pool, she was given free reign by director Paul Verhoeven. Judging by the end result, it is possible Verhoeven’s sole direction was for her to imitate a mermaid having a seizure. Thus, Showgirls contains the unsexiest sex scene ever committed to celluloid.

As Berkeley’s character, Nomi Malone, decides to get payback on Cristal Connors (Gina Gershon) she realises a mere banana skin on the dressing room floor, a cream pie to the face or an apple full of razor blades just won’t cut it. She lures Connors’ boyfriend, Zack (McLachlan) to the pool at his mansion and proceeds to seduce him. Striding into the pool she removes her dress and dives in. She rises from the water, throwing her wet hair back as a fountain begins to spurt water in an arcing jet. She undulates beneath it, water streaming down her chest. Fair enough, it’s the standard “oh the water pouring over her represents……right, got it.” The problem is, Berkeley isn’t convincing. It’s as if she is starring in the spoof to the movie she is filming. Each motion is exaggerated to comedy effect.

Once Zack enters the scene with a bottle of champagne, it descends further into silliness. They kiss and Zack spills the bubbling champagne all over Nomi’s face and breasts while she bounces around laughing like a kid experiencing snow for the first time. This is not the stuff which warms one’s engines.

She bobs beneath the surface, continuing with some down south action, resurfaces and pushes Zack against a wall to begin the final consummation. That fountain snags more screen time, with Berkeley leaning back to receive foamy propulsions of water as the two of them shaboing away. She jerks and thrashes about like a recently spawned trout. Her eyes intent on his, as if to imply “I know I shag like a seizing sea otter – but stay with me” rouses nothing but concern. Is McLachlan about to become victim to her vagina dentata? Is she actually possessed and this is some sort of penetrative exorcism? Whatever may be the root of Berkeley’s flopping about, it sure as hell ain’t sexy. She perhaps needs to seek medical advice.

Finally, on top of their bizarre aquatic union lies a musical accompaniment to further push this sex scene into the realm of soft core. And it does so rather well, leaving all viewers soft with more of an inclination to reach for the tissues to wipe tears from their eyes rather than to….well, you know.

And so, with Showgirls, the cinematic vision of seizure sex was born. As the name suggests, it ain’t sexy at all.

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