REVIEW: Piranha 3DD? More Like Sub-Double-A.

Movieline Score:

Because it didn’t screen for critics, and because of a water-main break in the only New York theater showing the film today, it took me three tries to see John Gulager’s Piranha 3DD. That means I had to walk up to the ticket booth and say “One for Piranha 3DD, please” exactly 3DD times.

That was three times too many.

Piranha 3DD is the hardly-at-all awaited follow-up to Alexandre Aja’s 2010 schlockerpiece Piranha 3D, in which hordes of mutant killer fish found their way into a lake favored by scantily clad cuties just as spring break was kicking in. Boobs and penises were chomped upon mercilessly; asses hanging through the doughnut holes of innertubes became low-hanging fruit for these bloodthirsty carnivores, giving new meaning to the term “bottom feeder,” not to mention “buttmunch.” Piranha 3D was ridiculous, gory and fun, everything Piranha 3DD is not.

Piranha 3DD takes place not near a lake or an ocean, but around an Arizona water park run by an unapologetic sleazebag (David Koechner) who believes he’s going to rake in the dough with his new enterprise, a sort of chlorinated strip bar where women are invited — nay, encouraged — to swim topless. And so they do. The sleazebag’s step-daughter, a smart, pretty marine biologist (Danielle Panabaker), catches wind of this plan and doesn’t like it one bit — she’s half-owner of the park and would prefer to see it as a locale for good, old-fashioned family fun, as it has been for years. But that’s the least of her problems, as you can imagine. Massive numbers of finned, fanged nasties have found their way into a nearby lake and you can bet your innertube-encircled ass that it won’t be long before they show up in that water park.

Except it does take them a long time to get there. A long, long time. Almost nothing happens in the first half-hour of Piranha 3DD. Not much happens in the last 50 minutes or so, either. There are a few exceedingly crude gags: A wily P-fish wriggles up a girl’s vagina and hides out there quietly, waiting for the right moment to strike. But Piranha 3DD is, for the most part, disappointingly low on gore. Gulager favors underwater POV crotch shots and repetitive footage of lovely lasses screaming with laughter as they career down water slides, their naked breasts glistening with moisture. Granted, there were lots of crotches and boobs in Piranha 3DD’s predecessor, but that picture was, even in the midst of all its absurdity, craftily paced. Gulager doesn’t bother with any of that stuff career occasionally he throws a bloody stump or two our way, but even those are in short supply in Piranha 3DD. Aside from a welcome and all-too-brief appearance by Ving Rhames (one of the heroes of the earlier movie), Piranha 3DD’s only nod to star power is that David Hasselhoff shows up, playing himself, which is the last thing he should be playing. Even for an unapologetic B movie. Piranha 3DD is three times worse than it ought to have been. I should get my money back 3DD times over.

Follow Stephanie Zacharek on Twitter. (Ed: Seriously. She's earned it.)
Follow Movieline on Twitter.