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'Piranha 3DD' review: "No titillation, just desperation..."

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A man stands in a swimming pool with his pants pulled down while gaining sexual pleasure from the pumps spraying water over his genitals, only for a flesh-eating piranha to leap up and lodge itself inside the man's rectum. That sounds like a fairly embarrassing situation to be caught in. Yet it pales in comparison to the humiliation that will be felt by any cinemagoer who pays good money to see Piranha 3DD. Double dire, deflated and desperate, it is so far beyond redemption on every level that not even a gamely self-mocking supporting turn by David Hasselhoff can make a difference.

The plot exposition and characterisation is so botched and inadequate, consisting of either good or evil characters (with no middle ground) fending off piranha attacks in various disjointed scenes around a water park until the credits start to roll after barely 70 minutes. That's a merciful running time, with the credits fleshed out to unbearable length by behind the scenes footage of the making of this dud. It would have been wiser to let Vincent Price's iconic cackle from Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' video play on a loop while the credits roll, an admission that the audience have been swindled.

Don't be fooled into thinking that these are the ramblings of a snooty reviewer who despises trashy fun. This aquatic abomination's 2010 predecessor Piranha 3D supplied a good dose of enjoyable escapism that toyed with its lowbrow status and unleashed enough clever pop culture references to stay afloat. Piranha 3DD is merely stupid, as opposed to trashy - and no fun at all.

You'd think that lines like "Josh cut off his penis because something came out of my vagina" would provide some melodramatic impact or camp humour, but the execution is so abysmally poor that such moments are botched. The direction and editing is so poor and incoherent that there is no visceral or dramatic impact when a piranha swims out of a young woman's vagina while she is in the process of losing her virginity.

There are also frequent moments of incongruity when there are cuts between long shots and close-ups that simply do not match up. The 3D is similarly a waste of space with no effort made to create any shots that create the requisite immersive effect. Simply having a fish swim towards the camera and bear its fangs is not enough. As 3D films are significantly more expensive to watch than their 2D counterparts, this is unforgiveable.

The only glimmer of hope surfaces when David Hasselhoff walks into shot midway through the movie, clutching a large glass of whisky in the morning and crooning a love song to two ladies in his hotel room bed. Fair play for sending himself up, but before long he is festooned on a lifeguard's chair observing the piranha-produced bloodshed and doing little else apart from mocking his own existence. Even that video footage of him drunkenly scooping up a burger from the floor and scoffing it provides a more respectable outlet for his persona.

No thought has gone into making this movie and contriving involving situations for the viewer. Sympathies go out to both The Hoff and Christopher Lloyd, who returns as the fearful fish expert, for their participation. Who'd have thought that a movie entitled Piranha 3DD could be so bereft of titillation?

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