"Welcome to rock bottom," says David Hasselhoff, playing himself, upon his arrival for a promotional appearance at Big Wet Water Park.
He may be ruefully talking about the demonstrable downward trajectory of his career, but he is also accurately assessing the gory-dirty-stupid movie in which he finds himself.
Piranha 3DD is a sequel to 2010' infinitely more inventive Piranha 3D, positing that the dormant prehistoric fishies of the first film have invaded a new body of water, an underground lake leading directly to the aforementioned Big Wet Water Park.
Piranha opened with a cameo appearance by Richard Dreyfuss. Piranha 3DD's opening guest victim is Gary Busey. That might tell you everything you need to know right there.
Likable scream queen Danielle Panabaker plays Maddy, the co-owner of the water park, dismayed to discover that her sleazy stepfather Chet (David Koechner) has made some dismaying alterations to the family theme park, including stripper lifeguards and a clothing-optional section.
This feature, by the way, is the only justification for the leering "DD" in the title. It's possible two or three of the naked female performers in the background possess a DD cup size. But if you think director John Gulager might somehow use this sequel to reinvent a Russ Meyer-esque paean to cleavage, prepare for the first of a long list of disappointments.
Anyway, a couple of Maddy's friends disappear and she herself is bitten by a fearsome-looking fish that looks exactly like one of the creatures that terrorized Arizona's Lake Victoria one movie ago. Maddy, her cop ex-boyfriend Kyle (Chris Zylka) and her much nicer but cowardly pal Barry (Matt Bush) go to the expert, Mr. Goodman (Christopher Lloyd, reprising his eccentric pet-shop owner) to discover that yes, these little beasties are back and they're capable of breaking through any barriers as you'd find in, um, a water park.
Adding a touch of spurious horror-movie biology to the mix, Maddy's friend Shelby (30 Rock's Katrina Bowden) discovers the fish have invasive qualities that can put a crimp in a gal's sex life. As if the movie weren't juvenile enough.
Director Alexandre Aja's 2010 remake of the Roger Corman production of Piranha was a solid guilty pleasure of a movie. Sure, it had gore and gratuitous nudity, but it was expertly mounted and performed with shameless bravado.
Piranha 3DD is cheaper, dumber and sleazier. As a sequel, it's about as organic as a breast implant. Expect all guilt, no pleasure.
Selected excerpts of reviews of Piranha 3DD
Ups the self-parody so much that it's practically a Wayans Brothers spoof, albeit with fewer jokes.
-- Leslie Felperin, Variety
Even the gore is sporadic, poorly staged and unimaginative: as a result, this is neither fish nor foul.
-- Nigel Floyd, Time Out
If you've seen the trailer, you've seen all the good bits. Avoid like a piranha-infested swimming pool.
-- Matthew Turner, ViewLondon
Starring Danielle Panabaker and David Koechner
One star out of five