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Friday, August 20, 2010

Piranha 3D (*****)



Piranha 3D cannot be discussed in polite company, and I mean that as a superlative. Boobs! Boobs! Blood! Blood! Piranha 3D has a simple agenda and it fulfills it with a shameless, go-for-broke, anything goes glee that's reprehensible if you're a churl, and yet, frankly honorable. Opening with an homage to Jaws featuring Richard Dreyfuss himself, Piranha 3D freely abandons any lofty aspirations (why would a piranha movie have lofty aspirations?) and dives headlong into copious amounts of viscera-soaked schlock and soft core porn.  An earthquake exposes underground caverns in an Arizona lake that unleashes "thousands" of prehistoric piranhas that had been thought be extinct for two million years. Sheriff Elizabeth Shue and scientist Adam Scott discover the threat of the piranha too late to prevent the alcohol-soaked orgy of scantily clad spring breakers partying at the lake from becoming fish food. Meanwhile Shue's son Steven R. McQueen and the girl he loves, Jessica Szohr, fall under the sway of smarmy, thinly-veiled Joe Francis parody Jerry O'Connell and his harem of delectable porn stars, played gamely by the very bouncy Kelly Brook and Riley Steele. Brook and Steele deserve special Academy Awards for their eye-popping extended skinny dipping sequence, and then the Academy should retire that Oscar after they accept. Character development is non-existent, but Scott and Shue transform into credible action heroes; Scott dispatches piranha with a shotgun (of course) as he zips around on a jet ski, while Shue, in her forties, asserts herself as the sexiest woman in the picture even with all the young bare flesh on display. The way our heroes manage to slay the piranha is a Mythbusters episode waiting to happen. Appearances by Ving Rhames (his pride wasn't fuckin' with him here. Fuck pride!), Christopher Lloyd ("Great Scott!"), Dina Meyer, Paul Scheer, and Eli Roth (who goes down in ghastly fashion) add that extra layer of "Hey, what's (s)he doing here?!", but the real stars are the grotesque CGI piranha and the jaw dropping amounts of carnage on the screen. Piranha 3D's money sequences, especially when the piranha attack and massacre the hundreds of spring breakers in the third act, are a shocking, relentless, unbelievably depraved (in an admirable way) barrage of young bodies being torn apart, flesh being ripped off of faces, piranha bursting through faces, and gallons upon gallons of blood. Even the tease for a sequel at the very end is shameless. And kind of wonderful.