Showgirls 2: Penny's from Heaven—the would-be sequel to Paul Verhoeven's legendary Showgirls, written and directed by Rena Riffel, who also stars, produces, and edits—was released straight to DVD on December 28, 2011. As a diehard Showgirls fan, I figured I'd watch it someday. Then a year passed. What was it about Showgirls 2: Penny's from Heaven that made it so easy to avoid watching?* My two best reasons:
1. The appeal of "a sequel to Showgirls" is not the continuation of any character's story arc but the dream of another film with the perfect balance of hubris, talent, surrealism, and hilarious failure that makes the original Showgirls one of the great cinematic experiences of the 20th century. However, lightning rarely strikes the same place twice, and if there ever is "another Showgirls," it's unlikely to revolve around scantily clad women, and much more likely to involve the race for a vaccine or something.
2. It's going to be awful.
But exactly how awful will it be? And what flavor of awful? These are the questions we will seek to answer on Thursday March 7, when I'll be hosting a screening of (and providing intermittent commentary throughout) Showgirls 2: Penny's from Heaven at Central Cinema.
In advance of this screening, I've been watching the film. It is 143 minutes long, features numerous castmembers from the original Showgirls, and is astoundingly bad. "How bad do you want it?" teases the Showgirls 2 poster. This is not an event for Showgirls novices. If you haven't seen the original Showgirls at least ten times, you'll be so baffled and bored by Showgirls 2 you'll weep. But for those ready to take the 143-minute plunge, it's going to be epic, perhaps cleansing, maybe even cathartic. Full info here.
(Special assignment for forthcoming viewers of Showgirls 2: Watch/re-watch David Lynch's Mulholland Dr. Not just the Rena Riffel part, the whole thing.)
*-This is perhaps my favorite sentence I've ever written.