Piranha 3-D (2010)
If I wanted to watch “Girls Gone Wild”, I would have simply watched “Girls Gone Wild”. Alexandre Aja’s Piranha 3-D is so abrasively targeted at the heterosexual male demographic, that it becomes hard to even sit through this obnoxious onslaught of Spring Break antics and gratuitous nudity. Of course, in the final third, when all hell breaks loose, Aja takes the same amount of glee in showing women being ripped apart mercilessly when hardly any men are shown being eaten on screen. Jerry O’Connell’s death scene admittedly makes up for some of that. The film tries way too hard to be irreverent and to gain a cult following. It also has an inconsistency that sharply divides the pointless first two thirds and the legitimately fantastic final third. The first two thirds feature little violence and too much plot set-up which matters little. The characters are not worth the time spent on them.
Maximum exposure to the Spring Break crowd proves to be as barbaric as it always has seemed, making the mass destruction that happens late in the film a welcome arrival. Is this the point? Probably, considering that films like this are trying to get us to root for violence; having terrible characters helps that. There seems to be an odd tone of justice racing through the violence in the last act, as if the director could not take any more of watching drunken college idiots acting moronic for over an hour.
This is where the film succeeds; the final third. Aja not only manages to construct very impressive sequences of violence and chaos, but he makes the irreverence he had been seeking a success. I get that this is a B-movie that is meant to glorify sex and violence but did it have to be so inconsistent, predictable, repetitive and obvious? It is clear that Aja wanted to save the goods for the final act and provides filler for the rest of the film complete with a boring and unsympathetic protagonist, and a Joe Francis parody that gets old minutes into O’Connell’s performance.
Overall, it’s all too easy to see what Piranha 3-D was going for. There is one third of a really good film here and the rest is schlock that is trying far too hard to be schlock. For the record, the underwater nude scene was the best part of the first two thirds. It carried an absurdist tone the rest lacked and used nudity in an amusing way as opposed to the redundant overexposure going on elsewhere. At least it was a hell of a lot better than Mirrors.