When the now cult hit Showgirls hit in 1995 it sparked all kinds of press from not only actress Elizabeth Berkley shedding her clothes and Saved By the Bell child actor persona, but also as one of the worse movies ever. With that kind of status you would think that would be the end of it, but co-star of the original Rena Riffel had other plans and has written, directed, and stars in the unofficial sequel Showgirls 2: Penny’s From Heaven, but is there any chance this film offers up anything different than the original?
Showgirls 2: Penny’s From Heaven follows a Las Vegas stripper who sets out on an adventure to become a star on a dance television show. But a rise to the top is not always as easy as you think as she is thrust into the dangers of Sin City, a dangerous love triangle, and murder. To say this is the unofficial sequel is an understatement, this film is so much more than that but not in the way you may think. First of all besides returning star Rena Riffel the film features other cast members from the original film including Glenn Plummer, Dewey Weber, and Greg Travis making this film play as a sequel, but at the same time it is structured as a homage parody as well. This is a train wreck of a movie in almost every way but one that is hard to turn off. It goes so far out left field at times that it makes little to no sense yet still seems to be trying to tell a story. This is beyond low budget, but never tries to be anything more than what it was. The performances are beyond bad at times, but some of it is hard to tell if it’s on purpose or just lack of talent. Plummer has given some amazing performances throughout his career so there was no doubt some thought to making this film appear as it does. Riffel even threw in some Lynch style filmmaking to try and give a sense of style to the finished product which as easy as some of it may look is really hard to accomplish, so much props go out to her for that. The story is all over the place with numerous moments that make no sense and leave you wondering what the hell is going on. Intelligently they upped the nudity level clearly knowing why someone would watch this film in the first place. The run time is a way too long with it being about 2 ½ hours which for a parody like this eventually out does it’s welcome and there is already numerous issues that you have to struggle with to stick with it.
Most people will toss this movie aside strictly based on its association to the original while others will never make it to the end, but as bad as it is it is something you will not soon forget. It’s hard to stick with this movie for various reasons, but those same reasons make it hard to turn it off. You will leave seeing this a bit more confused than you went in and it will definitely be one you will want to force on other people. Rena Riffel has done something actually interesting and taken a big budget movie, mocked it and created something that will more than likely garner an even bigger cult status and deserves credit for at least making the film she wanted despite what others think about it.