Arizona's Lake Victoria is being invaded by virtually naked young people during spring break, but teen Jake (McQueen) has to babysit his young siblings (Brooklynn Proulx and Sage Ryan) because his mother Julie (Shue) is especially busy as the town sheriff. As a sleazy filmmaker (O'Connell) hires Jake to show him the lake, Julie is investigating evidence that an underwater rift has released a school of voracious prehistoric piranhas. So not only must she get all of these drunken revellers out of the water, but she needs to make sure her kids are safe.
Director Aja opens with a hilarious cameo from Dreyfuss and takes off from there, surging through the various plot threads without pausing for air. The writers pack the plot with more wrinkles than are thoroughly necessary. Jake's riotous day out with the porn starlets (Brook and Steele) is strained by the presence of the local girl (Szohr) he definitely does not have feelings for.
Julie somehow manages to swap innuendo with a hot diver (Scott) even as mass chaos breaks out around them. And Lloyd pops up channelling Doc Brown as the fish expert.
There's also a sublimely ridiculous nude underwater ballet that's counterbalanced by a scene of raucous bloodletting when these angry piranhas, after millions of years trapped in an underwater lake, are released to this flesh buffet. In other words, the filmmakers and cast members are having so much fun that we can hardly help but enjoy ourselves as it gets grislier and funnier by the moment.
Sure, the characters are wafer thin, and we can guess who will survive early on. But there are some surprises along the way, mostly of the "I can't believe they did that" variety. There are also rather a lot of gratuitously amusing 3D gags, as it were. Like the original, this is essentially a wacky Jaws rehash, complete with the fish-view cam. The only thing missing is a memorable musical score.
Run time: 88 mins
In Theaters: Friday 20th August 2010
Box Office USA: $25.0M
Box Office Worldwide: $25M
Distributed by: The Weinstein Company/Dimension Films
Production compaines: Dimension Films, Intellectual Properties Worldwide, Aja / Levasseur Productions, Atmosphere Entertainment MM, Chako Film Company, The Weinstein Company
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 73%
Fresh: 88 Rotten: 32
IMDB: 5.6 / 10
Director: Alexandre Aja
Screenwriter: Peter Goldfinger, Josh Stolberg
Starring: Elisabeth Shue as Julie Forester, Adam Scott as Novak Radzinsky, Jerry O'Connell as Derrick Jones, Steven R. McQueen as Jake Forester, Jessica Szohr as Kelly Driscoll, Ving Rhames as Deputy Fallon, Dina Meyer as Paula Montellano, Kelly Brook as Danni, Richard Dreyfuss as Matthew Boyd, Christopher Lloyd as Henry Goodman, Riley Steele as Crystal, Cody Longo as Todd Dupree, Ricardo Antonio Chavira as Sam, Paul Scheer as Andrew, Eli Roth as Wet T-Shirt Host, Gianna Michaels as Parasailing Girl