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Piranha 3D

August 30, 2010

Piranha 3D is the type of entity that had we slept together I’d sneak away in the wee hours of the morning but would probably call the following week to get coffee together. My major gripe with Piranha 3D was my own expectations due to its marketing. Advertised as a high budget self reflexive B-movie, one can only anticipate a balls to the wall thrill ride of blood, boobs and memorable one-liners— Oh how expectations can ruin an experience. Piranha 3D sprinkles good moments throughout the film however doesn’t develop them enough for an enjoyable pay off, instead it leaves the last half hour of the film to be rewarding.

When a recent earthquake opens the lake floor an underground colony of piranha’s escape. Unfortunately for the town Lake Victoria the hungry villains are released during Spring Break, the town’s gold mine for tourists. Instead of spending his Spring Break dancing with topless babes and catching some rays in the sun like his peers, Jake Forester agrees to babysit his younger brother and sister for his busy tough as nails Sheriff mom Julie (Elisabeth Shue). However the sweet scent of sex distracts him when he meets Danni (Kelly Brook), a large chested beauty who works for Derrick Jones (Jerry O’Connell) and his “girls gone wild” type production.

Derrick and Danni’s breasts convince Jake to brush off his plans in order to be Derrick’s location scout, a job that entails of getting drunk on his boat while finding cool areas to film girls making out. Jake follows on board with his assumed ex-girlfriend Kelly, leaving his curious and defiant siblings at home by themselves. As the champagne flows, women make out, and partying gets underway so does the piranha carnage. It’s up to Julie, her partner Deputy Falloon (Ving Rhymes), and underwater explorer Novak (Adam Scott) to uncover the mystery of the fish and help stop the deaths of the partying babes and bros.

Piranha’s problem is that for a while it actually seems to take itself seriously. Director Alejandra Aja pulls for strong emotions and ties from and between the characters, something completely unnecessary in a horror film about attacking piranhas; even more so due to the fact that the characters aren’t developed enough for audiences to care about their lives by the end. Too much of the film’s time is spent on the awkward relationship between Jake and his crush/possibly ex-girlfriend Kelly even though we aren’t given their background together or enough information to even want them to hook up. The acting and comedic timing from some characters (especially the younger sister) is so atrocious that I was more annoyed by the characters quips and one-liners and prayed the piranhas would eat most of them alive.

Not all is lost though, the films saving grace is Jerry O’Connell as the cocaine snorting, foul mouthed, horny Joe Francis-esque Derrick. Dressed throughout the film in merely a pair of tight red speedos and a button up shirt, the film’s best one-liners and moments come from O’Connell. The last half hour is the highlight of Piranha 3D as all hell breaks loose and the anticipated attacks on the spring breakers happen. The remainder of the film consists of hilarious death scenes, bloodied and mangled bodies, over the top acting from extras, and just good quality entertainment.

While the 3D is impressive as it utilizes the effect to capture space in eye-popping depth and beauty, the films heavy use of CGI makes the effect appear cheap and amateur. The 3D is used unconventionally as it enhances the revolting images of vomit, ripped implants, and other genitalia on screen. Piranha 3D is the product of the 2000s. This decade has been a constant rebirth of trends and genres from the influences of 80s instruments in music to the present rebirth of the 50s trend of 3D. While it may not render in the minds of fans a week after viewing it’s still an enjoyable and humorous experience.

SEE IT. But don’t be too excited for it.

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