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Piranha 3D


It’s a loose remake of Joe Dante’s “Piranha,” which was born in 1978 because producer Roger Corman wanted to cash in on the popularity of “Jaws.” It worked. Things come full circle in “Mirrors” director Alexandre Aja’s version, opening with a prologue that winks back at Steven Spielberg’s shark blockbuster by having Richard Dreyfuss essentially play his same role.

Plot? Fish eat people. What more do you need?

Whereas Dante’s malicious fishes tore into a camp full of lil’ swimmers, Aja’s bite the bejeezus out of obnoxious collegians on spring break in an otherwise sleepy Arizona lake town. Sheriff Julie (Elisabeth Shue) rules the roost, leaving her three kids to fend for themselves, or at least under the watchful eye of big brother Jake (Steven R. McQueen, grandson of his namesake).

That all goes to hell when a “Girls Gone Wild”-esque producer named Derrick (Jerry O’Connell) brings his crew to town for the kuh-raazy weekend and hires Jake to be his guide. Wouldn’t you know it — it’s the same time the ocean floor rips open and unleashes a school of prehistoric piranha, whose appetites for blood are as ravenous as the frat guys for booze.

Like the original, none of this is to be taken seriously. Witness the casting of funny men Adam Scott and Paul Scheer in supporting roles, or “Hostel” director Eli Roth as a wet T-shirt contest coordinator. Better yet, witness the scene in which — spoiler alert! — two piranha play tug-of-wear with a dismembered penis … and the winner burps pieces of it up to float toward viewers.

That may have you asking, “This is what 3-D technology was made for?” To answer that, no. British beauty Kelly Brook was what 3-D technology was made for, onboard as one of Derrick’s video vixens. Aja lets his camera admire every curve of her curves, including an underwater pas de deux for which bikinis are optional. In fact, “Piranha 3D” contains so many buoyant breasts on full display, perhaps “Piranha 36DD” would’ve been a better title.

But then, that would give all the gore a short shrift (“Piranha ABkknd”?), and this has plenty to spill. As long as you’re immune to the sights of a coed losing her face to the blades of a motorboat, you’ll have a good time. The flick is a lot like spring break itself: not at all good for your system, but a total blast.

The Blu-ray includes a handful of deleted scenes (I hereby recommend the one labeled “Cheerleaders”) and a feature-length documentary on the production, broken up into bite-sized pieces. —Rod Lott

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