After nearly six years in production, Rena Riffel presented her self-financed passion project to the world for the very first time Thursday night. Laemmle's Sunset 5 played host for Showgirls 2: Penny's From Heaven - 152 minutes of dancing, confusion and absolute insanity.
Two days later, I'm still trying to figure out exactly what happened in Showgirls 2: Penny's From Heaven. I was already excited but in shock that someone had actually made a sequel to one of my favorite movies of all time, especially since it wasn't Paul Verhoeven or Joe Eszterhas. Thankfully there's Rena Riffel (Penny/Hope from the original) writing, directing and editing the epic saga. The film features some cameos from other Showgirls characters, including James (Glenn Plummer), Jeff (Dewey Weber) and Phil Newkirk (Greg Travis). Reunion!
Aside from special guest stars and bizarre homages to its predecessor, this movie is all about Penny. It's strangely unclear whether this is supposed to be a legitimate sequel or satire, but even with a 2 1/2 hour running time the movie doesn't give you much of a chance to ponder these uncertainties. Penny wants to become the "Star Dancer" on what appears to be a public access show called...StarDancer. She leaves James in Vegas (her mom has custody of their baby), and sets out to make her dreams come true in Hollywood.
You guys, it was a wild ride. Ms. Riffel replied to me on Twitter saying she would be there, but unfortunately she didn't offer an introduction or any final thoughts. I've decided that in lieu of a formal review (I worked on/disposed of a few drafts), I'm just gonna give you the highlights:
There is a disturbing amount of polka music played during sex scenes.
"I used to be your love sponge!"
There are a couple of nervous breakdowns that I'm convinced were not in the script.
"It's like a burger drive-thru, only I get pussy instead of a burger, with fries and a soda."
Penny's lingerie-clad maid is also taking detective classes.
6."You're not dumb, you just play dumb."
"Like a possum?"
"No, possums play dead."
7.There are subplots involving snuff films, lesbianism and Freemasonry.
"My life as a prima ballerina hasn't been easy. I was born into poverty in Communist Russia."
"It was one of the options at the funeral home. Burial, cremation or ashes-into-diamonds."
"Use your Primal Creative Instinct! From your PUSSY! Dance into the floor!"
Flyer for the event, from Showgirls2Movie.com
The next scheduled screening of Showgirls 2: Penny's From Heaven is on November 9th, at the red carpet premiere in Long Beach. Yes, you read that correctly! Check out the full trailer to see what you're in for: