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Genre: Horror, Parody
Country: United States
Starring: Danielle Panabaker, David Koechner, Katrina Bowden, Matt Bush, Chris Zylka, David Hasselhoff, Ving Rhames, Paul Scheer
Cameos: Gary Busey, Christopher Lloyd
Eye candy: Here’s a pretty good list
Director: John Gulager
Run time: 82 minutes
DVD distributor: Alliance Films
I went into Piranha 3DD with fairly high hopes and expectations. The first movie was such a bonkers good time, such enthusiastic pandemonium! The best thing about the Piranha 3D was that it had an utter disregard for normal movie pacing. The scene where the two impossible hot naked women frolic with each other underwater went on forever before the piranhas showed up! The finale seemed like a full forty minutes of Piranhas eating drunk spring breakers. It was a hell of a lot of fun.
So I was figuring that, even with a little bit of a letdown, the second movie had to at least be gleefully enjoyable to some degree. It turns out I was wrong. Sadly, painfully wrong. The biggest problem with the new Piranha is that the film makers don’t seem like they’re having ANY fun making this film. They have the bases they have to hit, they hit them, then they go home. It reminds me of all those made-for-TV sequels to surprisingly successful monster movies where some director whose biggest credit to date is a Jim “the Hammer” Shapiro commercial goes through the motions and comes up with a paint-by-numbers crap job. It’s probably no coincidence that David Hasselhoff mentions Anaconda 3 in this movie. Both movies are working on the same level.
Piranha 3DD opens with another bizarre cameo, just like the first one – only this time instead of Richard Dreyfuss, it’s Gary Busey. And instead of being a (vaguely) subtle homage to aquatic monster movies of the past, this one involves an exploding cow and a very cheesy decapitation.
Okay. So they got the cameo-setup scene out of the way. What’s next? Oh right, gratuitous naked chicks and boobs. So we cut to that, as Chet (David Koechner) unveils his new water park, where strippers and prostitutes are hired as lifeguards and there is an adults-only section for naked swimming and close-up underwater shots of all the girly parts. We get a few minutes full of boobs and a fair amount of gratuitous full-frontal, and despite the moderately-inspired positioning of one particular camera, there is absolutely nothing titillating about the nudity. It’s just boobs and vaginas. Then it’s done.
Sidebar – this may be the worst business idea of all time. Strippers earn about $1,000 a night just to take their clothes off and gyrate. Now you’re taking lifeguard-certified strippers, and getting them to work eight-hour days? Even assuming they are still working for only $1,000 a day, this guy has hired what appears to be at least 25 of them. That’s $25,000 a DAY in salary, not including the guy who cleans stuff up with a trident and the other employee who is there just to be fat or the guy at the bar or all the others. The price list is posted, and at an average of $15 a head, they would need about 1,700 paying customers a day just to break even. Not that I’m looking for realism in Piranha 3DD, or even vague plausibility, but couldn’t they have found a slightly better premise to get nudity shoehorned into this thing?
Now they’ve done the cameo and the boobs…what’s next? Oh yeah – we have to have a main character, a love interest and a bad guy. Within a few minutes they have established Maddy (Danielle Pannabaker) as the star of the movie, Barry (Matt Bush) as the guy who has pined after her since the 7th grade, and some villains in her on-again-off-again boyfriend Kyle (Chris Zylka) and her step-father Chet. Okay, done.
Cameo, nudity, love interest, bad guy…check, check, check, check. Paint by numbers #5 – the dire warning from the crazy man about the piranhas! Christopher Lloyd is actually pretty great as the crazy scientist, but his screen time is limited to a warning, a demonstration with a live piranha in a tank in his office, and some brief foreshadowing that fish might one day evolve to the point that they can – gasp! – walk on land! Then his time is done. He has another brief but disappointing scene later on, when the one thing we expect does not take place.
Paint by number #6 – carnage. Again, this is a HUGE letdown after that massacre scene in the last movie. See, this one is taking place at a water park. Which means that when the piranhas attack, it’s in pools. So…all people really have to do is get out of the water. Which means the only way they can be eaten is if they just stand there like dummies amid the carnage. And of course, some of them do – but most of the piranha violence is limited to people running on the deck covered in blood and body parts floating around in the pools.
Paint by number #7 – body parts. Let’s see…what worked in the last movie…oh yeah – the severed penis! Let’s just do that again. (Actually, the severed penis scene in the first movie was the only scene I felt was more stupid than fun, and actually detracted from the film as a whole.) This time, it was done even more poorly and stupidly with no inspiration whatever. I’ll leave it at that.
Paint by number #8 – Ving Rhames does something badass. In this case he shows up in a wheelchair. Piranhas ate his legs in the first one, you see. He actually gets the best line of the movie – when he says “bring me my legs”, and shotguns are attached to his stumps, Paul Scheer asks him how he got the guns, and he says “I bought them with the money I saved on socks”. That’s pretty funny. But then his two minutes are up and he too goes away.
David Hasselhoff shows up, in what could be considered a parody of himself, the actor, and his failing career. Or, a parody of his character on Baywatch. In point of fact, it’s neither. He’s given some terrible lines, his scenes are half-assed at best, and all he really does is wander around aimlessly in the movie, adding absolutely nothing to it. Well, with the exception of the line “hello, rock bottom”. Which probably sums up the movie better than anything I could say or write.
Paint by number #9 – the finale. The bad guys have received their comeuppance (although it is very disappointing comeuppance, in that it does not come via piranha), the nerdy guy gets the girl, the destruction has stopped and the running boobs have stopped bouncing. They need one last laugh/scare. It might be the only really good one in the whole movie. It just came an hour and twenty minutes too late.
Final grade: DD-