Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Piranha 3D ***
Director: Alexandre Aja
Cast: Elisabeth Shue, Adam Scott, Steven R. McQueen
Ving Rhames, Jerry O'Connell, Jessica Szohr, Kelly Brook
Riley Steele, Christopher Lloyd, Cody Longo, Richard Dreyfuss
If you liked Jaws but think it would've been better if it had been directed by Paul Verhoeven, then Piranha 3D will blow your mind.
A hilarious, boob-filled, bloody, monster extravaganza that truly does justice to its B-movieness and above all seems to be worth your money (if you know what you're paying for).
Set in Lake Victoria, Arizona, it kicks off with an inspired spoof that has Richard Dreyfuss fishing while drinking some beer.
As he struggles reeling in a big fish, he drops his bottle which we follow to the bottom of the lake. Just as it hits the floor, an earthquake hits (or is the beer bottle causing the quake?) which opens an underwater cave from which a school of prehistoric piranhas emerge.
They rip Dreyfuss to pieces, doing justice to all the water creatures he has destroyed in the past. Then they move forward trying to find their next victim, lucky for them it's also spring break and hundreds of horny youngsters have come to the lake.
Piranha 3D is pretty straightforward from the beginning and seems to proclaim that there is absolutely no cliché it will not recur to, no gratuitous boob shot it will let pass and absolutely no degree of political correctness it will respect.
But as the piranhas have a feast of silicone and six packs, there's also a main story we're meant to follow, that of Sheriff Julie Forester (Shue) and her kids Jake (McQueen, as in Steven's grandson), Laura (Brooklynn Proulx) and Zane (Sage Ryan) who get involved in the disaster for quite silly reasons.
Needless to say that revealing more about the plot wouldn't exactly interfere with your enjoyment, it's perhaps best to let the film speak for itself and when you have a fantastically crass Jerry O'Connell as a Joe Francis-like amateur porn producer, you can be assured the film will do lots of, quite dirty, talking.
The cast itself is something the movie should be proud of; Shue is phenomenal and grounded, Rhames is his usual big self and Lloyd is all sorts of insane as a wise ichthyologist.
What the movie does best however, is give its audience exactly what it wants. Just when you think the filmmakers won't push any more buttons, they go ahead and cut a woman in half while paying homage to Titanic and Eli Roth.
In fact it might not even need 3D to work, given that other than for a scene or two there's not much use for the technology (there's a creepy underwater tour that's probably a bit too dark for it to work to perfection). Unless that is, you have made it a purpose to watch tri-dimensional vomit and wet breasts that almost poke your eyes out.
And if you've not had enough nudity and boobs, there's an underwater ballet set to Léo Delibes' "Flower Duet" from Lakmé that will haunt, and probably wet, your dreams.
Unlike recent movies that try hard to win B-movie and exploitation cred, Piranha 3D earns it through the use of cinematic traditions that have remained effective for decades.
As it seems to condemn sex and drinking, it's also using them to boost its own success and does this without even trying to make some sort of political comment or say anything witty about society, it's not that the film is dumb, it's just that it know that besides being bliss, ignorance can also be lots of fun.