Who's In It: Elisabeth Shue, Jerry O'Connell, Ving Rhames, Richard Dreyfuss, Christopher Lloyd, Adam Scott, Steven R. McQueen, Jessica Szohr, Riley Steele, Kelly Brook, Ricardo Chavira, Dina Meyer, Brooklyn Proulx, Sage Ryan, Paul Scheer
The Basics: It's busy season in the resort town of Lake Victoria, where thousands of obnoxious co-eds have just arrived to give the "Jersey Shore" kids a run for their destined-for-AA money, much to the chagrin of townies like Sheriff Julie Forester (Elisabeth Shue) and her teenage son, Jake (Steven R. McQueen). But they're not alone -- thousands of bloodthirsty prehistoric piranhas have also arrived for Spring Break, funneled in from their massive underground breeding grounds by a seismic tremor. Yes, there will be blood. And boobs. And more blood, and more boobs. In 3D.
What's The Deal: Is Piranha 3D an environmental parable warning today's youth to live responsibly, lest nature strike down with great vengeance and furious anger for all the beer bottles and cans of Axe body spray thrown carelessly into our nation's public lakes and oceans by hard-partying college kids? Nope. It's called Piranha 3D for a reason. There aren't any pesky lessons to be learned here, just plenty of good, old-fashioned blood & guts and the kind of full frontal nudity that's guaranteed to send plenty of young boys into puberty. Piranha 3D delivers exactly what it promises: it's a fun, cheeky bloodbath full of equal parts killer fish and rendered limbs that simmers slowly before unleashing an nonstop torrent of carnage, carnage, and more carnage upon your senses.
Whom You're Supposed To Care About: Bad-ass Elisabeth Shue pulls double duty as both the muscle and the heart of this disaster flick, a no-nonsense lady cop who tasers piranhas and pulls half-eaten corpses out of the water before leaping across overturned boats and shimmying upside down along makeshift rope bridges to save her three ostensibly fatherless children. As her teenage son, Vampire Diaries actor Steven R. McQueen gets to play the hero as well, saving his crush (Jessica Szohr) first from a sleazy soft-core porn director (Jerry O'Connell, delightfully unhinged) and then from the red-eyed, razor-toothed fishies. Everyone else… well, someone's gotta die.
A Laundry List Of The Funniest, Goriest, And Most Glorious And Twisted Things You'll See, Maybe Ever: College kids minus limbs and flesh, a main character minus his manhood (which is then spit out, mangled, and dangled in your face), Eli Roth's cameo as a wet T-shirt contest emcee, a face ripped clean off by a motorboat, Christopher Lloyd doing his best crazy-eyed Christopher Lloyd routine, Richard Dreyfuss reprising his role from Jaws, a girl sliced in half who watches in horror as her torso slides off into pieces, a fish eating its way out of a person's head FROM THE INSIDE OUT, the skin-crawling involuntary twitch of a leg eaten down to the bone. Director Alexandre Aja (High Tension, The Hills Have Eyes) can also be thanked for filming the most unabashedly gratuitous nude scene of the year, a racy underwater ballet in which adult actress Riley Steele and Brit lingerie model Kelly Brook (who also turns in a good-humored acting performance) frolic fully nude like mermaids. Mermaids who like to make out with each other and lure naïve underage girls into doing body shots. Which is to say, mermaids from heaven.
Yes, But How Boobtacular Is The 3D? Not very. Like the crappiest of converted 3D films (I'm looking at you, Clash of the Titans), Piranha 3D tends to be a bit dim at times - so much so that its already murky underwater cavern sequences are unintelligible to the eye and the CG-created piranha swarm attacks are pretty impossible to make out. What's worse, its 3D scenes are only marginally effective. Certain gimmicky gags should really have been more effective, as when beer and vomit spray at the screen or Aja's camera closes in tight on bare bouncing breasts, often disconnected from their owners. Alas, said 3D boob shots are never quite effective enough that you'll reach up towards the screen to cop a feel, and isn't that the kind of fully immersive movie-going experience we were all hoping for? See it in 2D and you won’t miss a thing.