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June 4, 2012

Piranha 3DD

(2012, Dir. by John Gulager.)

Man, I really don't want to go write about Piranha 3DD.  This is the kind of movie that does not ask the viewer to access any part of their brain that involves intelligence, and I'd like to think that anything I write about the movie will be more thoughtful than the movie itself. Like, that sentence I just wrote.  I over-wrote that sentence.  I could have said, Piranha 3DD is a dumb movie. And that's all I needed to say.

Then again, the movie - which is a sequel to the less-than-two year old horror remake (that featured the all too lovely and amazing and beautiful Elisabeth Shue - HEY ELISABETH SHUE, I LOVE YOU!) - doesn't aim to be anything but dumb.  The plot revolves around an "adult" water park, (run by the always brash David Koechner of Anchorman), the returning chompy-faced-fishes, and (naturally) a bunch of college kids who can bare their breasts (although, truthfully, all the actual characters keep their stuff under wraps throughout the film) and party and eventually become chum.  They are led by two very good looking young actresses with horror under their belts, the Friday the 13th remake's Danielle Panabaker and Tucker & Dale vs. Evil's Katrina Bowden - but neither actress is given anything to do other than be a standard horror victim.  Bowden's performance stands out a little bit, but primarily because of the predictable, yet entertaining, discomfort that her character is forced to endure.

The folks behind Piranha 3DD are director John Gulager - son of cult hero Clu Gulager, who appears briefly here - and screenwriters Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, the same trio who won some filmmaking reality show and got to make the Feast trilogy, three films that I truly love for their increasing ridiculousness and utter disregard for traditional expectations and/or sanity.  But, like a lot of sequels that are given to promising folks, it's hard to see their stamp on this film.  Don't get me wrong - there's plenty of gore and violence and a few decent shockers - but the whole thing is a bit standard for the guys who made a trilogy with the most ridiculous ending this side of The Matrix.

If there's a positive note about Piranha 3DD - as mean as I'm sounding, I really think there is a positive side to this film - it's the crude and hilarious humor that fills the script.  Things particularly pick up in the final act of the film, when cameos by a bunch of famous folks take over parts of the film.  The humorous additions include three returning characters from the first film - played by Paul Scheer, Ving Rhames, and Christopher Lloyd - who reprise their roles with tongues firmly in cheek.  Lloyd gets to spout sciencey nonsense while dealing with his character's YouTube fame - there's a couple of hilarious lines of dialogue involved there - while Rhames and Scheer deal with the former's injuries from the first film in goofy ways.  An exchange late in the film is punctuated by a comment from Rhames that had me laughing loudly and deeply, and I would have loved to see more from them in the film.

The most entertaining thing about the film, however, is the cameo by television icon and walking punchline David Hasselhoff. (SPOILER ALERT: Germans love David Hasselhoff.)  The Hoff plays himself, lampooning his infamous Baywatch role - and throwing in a rare reference to his work in Anaconda 3, which made me laugh out loud too. We've seen Hoff being Hoff a lot over the last decade or more - heck, he did this same shtick in Spongebob's movie, which is a weird parallel to make - but I'm not above laughing at his foul mouth and self-deprecating sense of humor again.  Hoff is easily the film's biggest star, and I can't tell a lie: I'd love it if they found away to focus another Piranha flick on The Hoff.

And there's the real rub of it all. Piranha 3DD is stupid, dumb, inappropriate, inept, and even - dare I say - pointless. And despite all that, I'm here admitting that I have a place in my heart for a movie like it. I'm not gonna say guilty pleasure, because I believe in guilty pleasures like I believe in the dramatic appeal of Pauly Shore, but I'm just saying that I'm not above enjoying something this ridiculous. I had fun watching Piranha 3DD, even though I know it's pretty worthless and a bit of a let down from the folks behind Feast. (Y'all should really just go rent the first Feast film instead.)  There's nothing wrong with this film that wasn't already wrong with Piranha 3D, so I guess if you liked that film enough you'll like this film enough.  Like one famously bad horror film once said - It's exactly what you think it is.

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