film reel image

film reel image

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

You Don't Nomi 2019 * * 1/2 Stars


Cut feverishly yet disjointed. Informative yet adrift. Scorching in its archived look yet distant. Revealing yet risible. Yeah I'm talking about You Don't Nomi, a documentary chronicling 1995's Showgirls. I'm not kidding, Showgirls people, a film that's almost a bad pun for the overall discussion about the art form.

So OK, I saw Showgirls in the theater during my college years. I mean I was curious mainly because of the NC-17 rating. Did I like it? Not really. The writing was bad, Elizabeth Berkley had spaz moments in her acting, and the mean-spirited nature of the flick was something that stuck with me. Now apparently and unbeknownst to me, Showgirls is a cult film. Wha?? I'm not saying that it's the worst movie ever made but even cult films eventually get good reviews. Showgirls still sits with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 27%. And um, the audience score ain't much better.

You Don't Nomi is basically 90 minutes of critics, writers, randoms, and the director himself analyzing Showgirls and making sure its turd is more polished than it needs to be. You see a lot of past footage from the movies of Paul Verhoeven (the director of Showgirls). What you don't see are the people being interviewed and you can still tell they are getting high on their own, probing supply. I almost chuckled. The over-analyzing here is endless and while it appears smart and intuitive, it almost feels like heightened hot air, rising and falling.

Now I'm not saying You Don't Nomi isn't a well-made docu because it is. Heck, most of them are. It's edited fairly well and has enough swag to avoid being boring. But here's the rub: if you've never seen Showgirls you'll find "Nomi" to be fascinating and then you'll probably end up renting the thing On Demand. If you have seen Showgirls (and I did on opening night), then it will come off more as an annals lesson or an education about the vehicle that can only be taken as laughably self-serious. "I do know that".

Written by Jesse Burleson

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