Tired of only being viewed as a stripper, Penny has her dreams set on making it as a performer on a popular dance show. It will be a showcase that will allow her to finally become the dancing star she views herself as and to also prove to everyone that they were wrong about her. Unfortunately for Penny, the path to fame and fortune is a dangerous one where it will take more than determination to succeed.
You know what? Don't even! Just don't. Don't sit there and act like you didn't masturbate to the first movie! Sometimes there is an opportunity to watch a screener for a movie that you cannot possibly turn down and that was most definitely the case with "Showgirls 2: Penny's From Heaven". The movie has been available on VOD for awhile but we were given a chance to review a screener for the up coming DVD release. While the horror stories surrounding the movie's quality are numerous, we still couldn't say no. Writer, director, editor, producer and star Rena Riffel set out to make her own independent sequel about her character from the first movie and the result of her endeavor is interesting, to say the least.
Showgirl and stripper Penny Slot is depressed with her life. She's not ashamed to be a stripper but she wants to be taken seriously as both a performer and a dancer and it's clear to her that no one in Vegas sees her as either. With her sights set on Hollywood and a popular dance show, Penny hits the road to find fame and fortune but the path she has chosen has many obstacles and dangerous turns. Will her desire for success be enough to over come the problems heading her way?
While I was watching "Showgirls 2" I couldn't decide if the movie was retarded or insane and after it was over, I still wasn't sure. However I did find some interviews with Rena Riffel where she claimed that her independent sequel was in fact nothing more than satire of the first movie. That makes much more sense! Or does it? People claim this low-budget oddball movie is a simple parody of the first movie, but is it? Is it really? Really, is it? Is it? Really? Is it really? When I read this claim, the 2003 low-budget movie "The Room" came to mind. A movie where it was a very obvious attempt by someone at making a serious drama movie that was so inherently bad that the man responsible for it, Tommy Wiseau, claimed that it was all intentional and that the movie was suppose to be a comedy.
It feels like that's what might be occurring with "Showgirls 2". Yes, there are scenes in the sequel that recall the first movie but does that automatically qualify "Showgirls 2" as dark satire, as it's being labeled? I guess the better question for this movie would be: where is the line between satire and a bad movie? In general, yes, the movie does mimic parts of the first "Showgirls" movie but there is still an entire mess of a movie between those scenes. A collection of bad dialogue, bad acting, nonsensical and pointless scenes and a general lack of direction.
There is no getting around the fact that "Showgirls 2" is dumb. I mean really fucking dumb. But those who support the claims of the spoof intentions of the film clamor over a certain dialogue exchange that explains the intentions of the whole movie:
Jimmy: You're not dumb, you just play dumb.
Penny: Like a possum?
Jimmy: No. A possum plays dead, not dumb.
Again though, where is the line between playing dumb and just being dumb? Maybe if I would have seen Rena's previous writing and directing effort with "Trasharella" I would know what her comedy style is and be able to identify it better. What most of the movie comes across as, to me, is failed attempts. Not even sure at what attempts since, if this movie exists as only a mere parody of the first "Showgirls", then it is as pointless as a majority of the content within the actual movie.
Foregoing trying to understand the difference between comedy and idiocy for a moment, "Showgirls 2" is a mess of a movie as a whole. Even with a unnecessary runtime of 2 and a half hours, the movie never identifies its goal. It wanders aimlessly looking for humor and entertainment where ever it can find it and results in just chucks of randomness. There is never any storyline that runs through the movie. Penny mentions in just about every other scene that she wants to be star but the scenes themselves never amount to that or anything else. There is no flow or connection; it is just block after block of purposeless scenes. It's literally someone sitting there and saying, "And then this happens. And then this happens. And then this happens."
Simply because a movie is going for "satire" doesn't mean that it should dismiss logic, reason and proper storytelling which is ultimately what this movie did. Even though I have a hard time believing this movie was intended to be satire. Look at the films of David Zucker. Particularly "Airplane!" and "BASEketball". These are both very stupid and silly parody movies BUT there is a genuine story to them. The types of movies these two are making fun of -- disaster and sports -- actually exists. If you remove the humor, there are those actual plot types within the movie and that's what makes the satirical approach work. It's not just this approach of, "Look! Here's a nondescript character and look at the whacky situations they find themselves in! Isn't it hilarious?"
Unfortunately it seems that a lot of people who support the claims of what the intentions are of "Showgirls 2" are the type of people who are afraid of not being in on the joke, or simply being deemed as "not getting it". I got it just fine but the problem is that the label of spoof is being used as an excuse for the movie, not the reason it was made. I'm not saying that people who find this movie funny or entertaining are wrong but it seems like this movie was just a goddamn disaster and now steps are being taken to cover up that fact. Just like Tommy Wiseau did because your product isn't inferior if you can convince the audience that they're laughing with you and not at you. Right?
At the time, I wanted to like "Showgirls 2" simply because the lengths Rena Riffel went to get it made but now that I've seen and see that it's being labeled as dark satire, I can't. I cannot get behind this movie at all. In general, I don't believe that this was intended to be a satire, parody or spoof. That is nothing but a mere afterthought that's being used in an attempt to make up for what is a terrible movie. It's directionless, pointless and nonsensical (unintentionally) where there is no connection between the scenes -- just more randomness desperately looking to be entertaining -- and no real story. There was an obvious attempt at humor in the movie but all of it, all of the jokes, fell flat. People will probably find enjoyment in the blatant idiocy of "Showgirls 2" but that's all it has to offer: unintentional entertainment.