Sunday, July 1, 2012

Review: Piranha 3DD

Credentials: 14%, Certified Rotten ( / 4.3 out of 10 ( / 24 out of 100 (

Plot: So there’s this water park run by a douchebag (David Koechner, dude has been so typecast) where the lifeguards aren’t just lifeguards, but strippers, as well! For some reason, this is also a water park where families like to hang out. Dunno. Anyway, the prehistoric, carnivorous fishies from part one eventually show up and crash opening day, eating a bunch of people and whatnot. There’s A TON of other stuff going on: the douche bag’s step daughter (Danielle Panabaker) is involved in a massively uninteresting love triangle, her best friend (Katrina Bowden) is somehow struggling to get a guy, any guy, to have sex with her (really dunno), there’s some conspiracy thing involving the local police, etc. It’s all going on, but it’s not worth our time or attention… whoops. Let’s move on.

Why it stinks: Damn you, “Pirahna 3DD.” Damn you.
                Damn you for making me say this: I miss Alexandre Aja.

                Aja. My archnemesis. The director of duds such as “The Hills Have Eyes” and “Haute Tension” (if you’re pretentious). He also lucked into making the shockingly entertaining “Piranha 3D.” Sure, it could have been better (put Eli Roth behind the camera for starters), but still I had fun with it.
                Now, after seeing the Aja-less sequel, I really miss that crazy, French son of a gun, because “Piranha 3DD” awful.
                I guess it should have been pretty obvious from the title and casting decisions (Hasselhoff and Busey in the same movie?), but "P3DD" is trying really, really hard to be a screwy horror comedy.
                 Trouble is, once you start burning that many calories trying to make people laugh, usually the opposite starts to happen. There's still a good deal of nudity, blood and guts, it's just not as much fun this time around.
                Now look, I know Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan are the writers-du-jour of the horror genre nowadays, given the success they had keeping the “Saw” franchise afloat and profitable for seven films despite the fact its star madman died in part three.
            The two are good, sometimes very good (“Saw 6”), at what they do, but they aren’t comedy writers. They're totally out of their element writing "P3DD." They try to recreate the slapstick, over-the-top spirit of the original, but end up rehashing a bunch of tired gags and adding some sad attempts at humor of their own.
That leaves noted hack and replacement director John Gulager (“Feast”) to rely on so-so (at best) comedy actors and a fistful of C-list cameos to do all the heavy-lifting.
             I mean, for the love of god, J.D.’s future son from “Scrubs” has a STARRING role in this movie. Starring! I spent 20 minutes trying to figure out how I knew him, then I remembered this:

             And for shame, “Piranha 3DD.” You took the lovely and lovable Katrina Bowden and saddled her with the most useless and nonsensical storyline in the movie.
Spoiler Alert, here people. Be warned.
Am I to honestly believe that a piranha swam up her lady parts, lived inside her for several days and then emerged right while she was about to have sex with a guy? And that she was totally unharmed by any part of this experience?
End spoiler.
That’s really stupid.
See, the first “Piranha” was mostly entertaining stupid, the sequel is just stupid stupid.
I’ve already discussed the needlessly busy storyline, but my god. There’s so much going on and none of it is interesting. As a result, all of the piranha action gets crammed in near the end. And when the fish finally attack, it hardly lives up to the part one massacre. It’s all just very blah. Not fun, not squirm-inducing. Just there, happening.
Despite the fact that it’s grossy overwritten, “Piranha 3DD” lays claim to a cool 96 minute run time. Allegedly. The movie is really only 70 minutes long, with some unfunny bloopers and an equally unfunny fake commercial slowing down the end credits, adding on nearly 26 minutes!
70 minutes. Glad I skipped this one in theaters. 

Worst of the worst

See: Spoilers above. That scene had my cursor careening towards the stop button. 

Gulager, Melton, Dunstan. Congrats. You’ve made me appreciate Alexandre Aja. I’m not sure how to handle this. Maybe I’ll make like Sam Jackson at the end of “Pulp Fiction.” Wander the countryside, have adventures.
Or maybe I’ll just re-watch the last 20 minutes of “Haute Tension” and get my mind right.
Bumblebee tuna.

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