Piranha 3D

First: Sorry this is late. For some reason, they didn’t screen Piranha 3D for critics in advance of its opening. Maybe the reason is that Piranha 3D is best appreciated with a real, willing audience.

You may wonder whether it’s possible to appreciate Piranha 3D at all. It is. In fact, I encourage you to see it. And my only qualification to that statement, aside from this clause expressing how shocked I am to find myself encouraging you to see Piranha 3D, is that you see it with a real, willing audience.

You may wonder, also, about my credentials for reviewing films. It is true that I have only the dimmest memory of all previous Piranha films, and that I didn’t bother with the research of watching them again. Frankly, I’m not even sure how much diligence is due to establish a cultural context for Piranha 3D. But do you know what I am sure of? I am sure that the summer’s almost over, and if there is a time for this, it’s now.

OK, so it’s spring break at some desert lake, into which a recent underwater earthquake has disgorged a shit-ton of prehistoric fish. The fish have an appetite for human flesh, and boy are they in luck.

Elizabeth Shue is the town sheriff, Adam Scott is a visiting geologist, and Jerry O’Connell is a sort of soft-core auteur, who, like the fish, smells a great opportunity. O’Connell’s character is so similar to the creator of Girls Gone Wild that the creator of Girls Gone Wild has taken legal action.

Maybe Piranha 3D runs a little short on, you know, character development. And maybe it takes a smidge too long setting itself up. But so much of the sick fun is in waiting for the hell to break loose. Because when it does, it really does.

It’s like D-Day. With tits.

Here are some details (no, they are not spoilers, as Piranha 3D is unspoilable):

*Bodies get gnawed into nubs, cut in half.

*A penis gets fought over, gobbled, barfed back up.

*One girl gets her whole face pulled off — and not even by a piranha.

Appreciation is possible. In addition to Gossip Girl’s Jessica Szohr, porn performer Riley Steele, and Playboy model Kelly Brook, there are supporting roles for Richard Dreyfuss, Ving Rhames, and Christopher Lloyd. What’s more, Adam Scott has said on Twitter that if you feel ripped off by Piranha 3D, he will come to your house and act out his scenes for you. He has been asked if he means it and replied yes. But if you’re still not sure, start with either version of the Funny or Die promo video in which Scott and his cast-mates make their case for Oscar consideration in various categories.

I don’t know what else to tell you. I can say with complete sincerity that the director of Piranha 3D, Alexandre Aja, and his two writers, who go by the names Pete Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg, really seem to know what they’re doing.

A sequel has been greenlighted. I am encouraging you to see this one first.