The second entry in the rebirth of a guilty-pleasure franchise hardly has the bite of its quickly patched teaser trailer and easily manages to overstay its welcome in a brief running time.
Piranha 3DD (shot in the now common format) stars Danielle Panabaker, David Koechner, and Ving Rhames with two of them reprising their roles from the 2010 original which starred Elisabeth Shue, Richard Dreyfuss and Jerry O'Connell. Of course, another Jaws wacky mashup is out to attract a sizable demographic just finishing semester exams.
In all respects, John Gulager does nothing creative like Alexandre Aja did with staging set-pieces with reasonable editing and structuring to bring some odd amusement from lurid shocks.
Panabaker (The Crazies, Friday The 13th) is Maddy, studying marine biology and back home in Arizona (after the break at Lake Victoria the first go-round) to help at the family's 'Big Wet' water park. Her stepfather Chet, however in reflecting a kind of prurient depravity, now has been using an underground well for the pool which is watched by "water-certified" professionals over the regular lifeguards.
In the nadir of a production and script, Maddy and her nice-guy friend Barry (Matt Bush) learn through unkempt expert Dr. Goodman (Christopher Lloyd) about the prehistoric piranhas using the well pipes attracted to the chlorine to infiltrate the park. But, stubborn Chet isn't about to shut things down with the big summer launch soiree on the horizon.
The filmmaking is bereft of what could have been another witty, imaginative way with the genre; instead a bland gross-out horror comedy, more enervating than edgy. The low-minded approach that delights in some of the hyper-chauvinism in the hit-or-miss antics of The Dictator hones into a pervasive banality, missing out on opportunities to create some plausible suspense, ala the cheesy and grisly My Bloody Valentine 3D.
Obviously, one isn't going to see this for the characters which barely register as stereotypes, but there isn't much of a sense of viable human interaction anyway as more time went into the casting of zaftig all-stars to appease a wider base of multiplex patrons, not unlike Chet. Oh, there is a rival for Maddy's affections in Chris Zylka's Deputy Kyle, but that really goes nowhere. Rhames, whose work has ranged from Baby Boy and the Dawn of the Dead remake to daffy dreck like this, is back in the hapless, legless Deputy Fallon trying to overcome his hydrophobia. A jaded David Hasselhoff sends up his own Baywatch image doing some promotional work for Big Wet.
Here's a sequel that lacks the razor-sharp fun that make up the mouths of these ravenous critters. Yes, there some disgusting (yesh, a 3D projectile one) moments involving an obese chump and a hot couple that might prove most appetizing to those into fare like The Human Centipede. Gulager obviously doesn't mind executing weak, flimsy material in a ham-fisted, uncharacteristic way, at least by the rules of the genre. Given its title, one could only have hoped for less of a depressing infestation that could have made a visit with nibbling attackers bearable tackling tense escapism.