★★★ out of ★★★★★
A little of the old chomp, chomp, chomp…
Gratuituous. GRA-TU-I-TOUS! In all of its campy glory that’s Piranha. With significant homage to the the 1978 classic where flesh-eating piranhas are accidentally released into a summer resort’s rivers, the 2010 brethren swaps out a summer resort for a boozy, bosom-y, and bawdy Lake Havasu bacchanalia. Piranha begins with a swell throwback to the mother-of-all angry fish movies, Jaws, and an aging Richard Dryfus. Out for a afternoon fishing jaunt, Dryfus drops a beer bottle in the lake and…wait for it…inexplicably causes a massive earthquake which subsequently exposes a massive subterranean lake — that’s massive. Guess what the massive subterranean lake contains? Bingo! Two million year old piranhas that are super hungry, nasty, and villainous versions of their Amazonian pals.
The lakeside town is run by the law enforcement duo featuring Sheriff Elizabeth Shue and Ving Rhames. After seeing one dead body (the grotesquely grotesque Dryfus) Sheriff Shue inexplicably decides to shut down the bacchanalia booty blowout. Sheriff Shue’s son, Zane, a nebbish and naive young lad, inexplicably becomes involved in a Girls Gone Wild-like video production that leans on his local knowledge of the area. Interestingly, Zane is played by kid actor Sage Ryan, who actually went on to star in Disney’s Spooky Buddies featuring a terrifying gaggle of of fluffy puppies. But I digress.
Sheriff Shue connects up with a bad-ass group of USGS earthquake researchers trying to unearth the origin (read: Dryfus’ beer bottle) of said earthquake. The USGS researchers, while a bad-ass group federal employees, end up encountering the piranhas in their piranha lair, and turn out to be out-bad-assed by the piranhas. Sheriff Shue’s son Zane has his own problems: missing kids, too much booty, girlfriend/not girlfriend, and a coked-out Girls Gone Wild director cleverly played by Jerry O’Connell.
Much in the same vein as the original, Piranha culminates with the the piranhas reaching the resort and chomp, chomp, chomp. Serious gore, mastication, and a piranha barfing up Jerry O’Connell’s private bits. But along the way, a really swell cast starts to inexplicably unfold including: Shue, Rhames, O’Connell, Adam Scott, Paul Scheer, THE Christopher Lloyd, and gross-out horror director, Eli Roth. Quality all the way.
Make no mistake, Piranha is a fun romp. One notch above the quality of the Sci-Fi Channel’s green screen technology. And one notch above in the quality of acting. This film never takes itself too seriously and, frankly, takes nothing seriously. Inexplicably, the film really follows the original film closely, so close, that there’s nothing new. Piranha (2010) is a just a boozy cousin to it’s much more mature forefather. Why the script was not a pinch more original is…inexplicable.