At the beginning of Showboy, Christian Taylor (played by himself) is pinkslipped as a writer for the television series Six Feet Under on the last show of the season by the producer Alan Ball. Meanwhile, he has been the subject of a BBC documentary film, produced by Lindy Heyman (played by herself). After his firing, Lindy importunes Christian, telling him that the documentary, presumably about a successful British TV writer in Hollywood, is still incomplete. She wants more film footage. Christian then plays along, as Lindy and her handheld cinematographer accompany him about Las Vegas. While he applies for assorted positions in the entertainment business, accompanied by Lindy and camera, he pretends that his job applications are necessary research for a screenplay of his own until Six Feet Under resumes in the fall. He does so to ease the sorrow at losing a job, but he does not admit that he is using Lindy until the end of the film, and she does not let on that she knows. In any case, Christian has an odd ambition for a second career: He wants to be a dancer in a Vegas production. After he tries to learn some basic steps from several different teachers, he fails every audition. Still eager to embark on a dance career, a friend refers him to Whoppi Goldberg, who says, “No dream is crazy if you want to live it.” The film, thus, provides a window into the varieties of dancing in the Entertainment Capital, and we meet some of the top producers (notably Siegfried & Roy), with subplots about his landlord, the landlord’s dog, and his unsuccessful search for a boyfriend. Although the ending depicts Christian achieving what he wants in an unusual role, there is a fundamental tragicomedic aspect to the fall from the intellectual creativity of screenwriting to the very demanding if short career of dancing. The closest paradigm for his downfall is perhaps that of Professor Rath in The Blue Angel (1930), yet in the case of Showboy Christian is only following his own dream or perhaps illusion. Christian and Lindy are codirectors of the film, which should forewarn anyone who embarks on a dancing career that the reward for all but the very best is very limited. MH

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