There’s something inherently ridiculous about a showgirl costume, an over-the-top parody of overripe femininity — which is why it’s funny, in Honeymoon in Vegas, when tiny Sarah Jessica Parker has to stuff herself into one ) and why it’s not funny in Showgirls, since no one but Gina Gershon seems in on the joke that the whole movie is an unintentional campfest). Here’s a movie that dares to acknowledge Vegas’ gaudy, trashy, excess and then celebrate that as part of the fun of the place. (The movie’s side trips to Hawaii are lovely and lyrical, and Pat Morita and Peter Boyle make first-class island eccentrics, but you know the movie is itching to return to Nevada.)
Writer/director Andrew Bergman (The In-Laws, The Freshman) is a whiz at making outlandish plot developments seem organic and reasonable, so you’ll buy the notion of cynical private-eye Nicolas Cage getting swindled by card sharp James Caan, who cons Cage at poker for a weekend with Parker. And you’ll buy Cage trying to win her back by joining a group of electric-jumpsuited skydivers dressed as Elvis.
Indeed, the King’s magnanimous spirit hovers over the film, from the countless Presley covers on the soundtrack to the Elvis impersonators on every stage. The embodiment of garish, overstuffed, all-American fun gives this movie his royal blessing. (By the way, that little-boy Elvis impersonator? That’s young Bruno Mars.)