Directed by: Alexandre Aja
Cast: Jerry O’Connell, Ving Rhames, Elisabeth Shue, Adam Scott, Christopher Lloyd, Richard Dreyfuss
Running Time: 1 hr 29 mins
Release Date: August 20, 2010
PLOT: The town of Lake Victoria explodes every year for Spring Break. And now, when everyone gets there, an underwater tremor releases prehistoric man-eating fish. Now a group of strangers must try to save the day.
WHO’S IT FOR? Thirsty for a B-movie, with some moments that take 3D to the next (albeit sophomoric) level?
EXPECTATIONS: Bloody fun. I wanted them to be aware this is campy and never take themselves too seriously.
Steven R. McQueen and Jessica Szohr as Jake and Kelly: So you’re telling me you have a fantastic cast of recognizable actors, and for some reason you think we need a light teen romance thrown in for our LEADS? Jake and Kelly kind of like each other, and they kind of like other people. Who the hell cares? They are taking up screen time from every actor that I listed in the “Cast” section above. It’s not unforgivable, it’s just a waste.
Jerry O’Connell as Derrick Jones: Leave it to O’Connell to be the only one to truly go for it. He is clearly paying tribute to the guy who does all of those “Girls Gone Wild” videos. He’s crazed, drinking tequila straight from the bottle and getting women to swim naked underwater. Yes, he’s living most college guy’s dreams. But clearly it’s a warning to all those young punks out there. If you play with fire, you’ll lose most of your legs and your penis to a bunch of prehistoric piranhas. It’s a lesson we can all appreciate.
Richard Dreyfuss as Matt Boyd: He starts us off, drunk and on a small boat. Dreyfuss doesn’t last long but just him being here is a step in the right direction, isn’t it? I even think he utters “Son of a b*tch,” which I’ve decided is only because Roy Schneider’s Chief Brody does in the climatic scene of Jaws.
Adam Scott as Novak and Elisabeth Shue as Julie Forester: Wait a minute, both of them play it straight? Sigh. Another missed opportunity. At least Shue taps into her tough-girl side sizematic as the Sheriff in town. She’s also the mom and some dumb kids who don’t listen. Scott is one of my favorite comedic actors right now. He’s proved himself with the TV shows “Party Down” and “Parks and Rec.” It’s a shame they don’t allow him to explore his comedic space with this role. He’s part of the group of scientists who investigate the activity in the lake. This actually would have been the perfect “role within a role” for both of these actors. Shue could have played herself in a new life, trying to get away from Hollywood. Scott could have played his character from “Party Down” who plays a struggling actor. OK, I’m done getting meta on you folks.
TALKING: All of the basic lines you would imagine are here. There’s plenty of “what do you mean we have to go back?” moments. I would have liked a couple more tongue-in-cheek jokes, especially with Scott around. I didn’t get what I wanted.
SIGHTS: The CGI piranhas aren’t terribly effective, but the 3D truly is. This is one of those films that takes advantage of all that 3D has to offer. There’s Kelly Brook and Riley Steele swimming naked … right in your face. There’s piranhas chewing up a penis … right in your face. There’s also tons of moments where the gore it turns up a couple of notches. Blood and boobs. Plenty of both.
SOUNDS: The base is pumping during the wet t-shirt contests. The score isn’t too intrusive. That’s all I really remember with the music. The noise of the piranhas attacking will stick with me a little bit longer.
BEST SCENE: Aside from the naked ladies swimming while opera is pumping through the sound system, right? I have to give it to Christopher Lloyd as Mr. Goodman. He’s only in the film for a couple minutes as some sort of prehistoric scientist fish expert. He does everything overacting should be except yell “Great Scott!” calling everyone Marty and shouting, “we’ve got to go back … to the lake.”
ENDING: Scott deadpans a moment that is just great. It’s surprising that I’ve seen this in the previews, but it has to do with a bigger fish coming to town. My only worry is, if they make more of these campy movies, does that mean Scott’s not allowed to play?
QUESTIONS: You have crazy, kooky, nudity, bloody guts … why couldn’t you just add some more comedic parts? You would have given me everything I wanted and more. I mean, you were trying to make this just for me, right?
REWATCHABILITY: The 3D clearly adds to this film, but I would probably make some time for it at home if others wanted to watch.
Simply casting Richard Dreyfuss in the opening scene of Piranha 3D means they have more awareness than Stallone’s The Expendables. It’s weird, they give some of the cast great cheesy parts (O’Connell and Lloyd) but then with the leads they play it straight and don’t give us a chance to totally lose ourselves in pure, unadulterated, over-the-top, campy fun. They could have pushed harder in the comedic attempts. After all, they’re effort here is to entertain. You’ll see half-eaten, bloody bodies all over the place. It’s gross. It also led to this conversation with my buddy when the movie was over …
– I mean wow, that girl just fell apart.
– Yeah, the one that was cut in half!
– No, I mean the one they were carrying that became two parts.
Here’s the thing, piranhas are loose … It’s a good cast … You know what you’re hoping for with this movie, and it almost delivers. And for all you teenage boys, they brought boobs back to the big screen. Lots of them. They’re in 3D and they’re spectacular. It’s the odd movie that is just a renter, but should be seen in 3D. So clearly, go buy a 3D TV and get the Blu-ray when it comes out. That way you can save the extra money the theater wants to you to spend on the 3D.
FINAL SCORE: 6/10