Piranha 3DD the follow-up to 2010's over-the-top unapologetically campy horror hit Piranha 3D follows the same formula as its predecessor: gratuitous nudity + inane plot / celebrity cameos x scads of piranha-inflicted gore = movie. But this time around there's a key element missing in the equation that actually made that work. While the tongue-in-cheek Piranha poked fun at the genre and winked at the audience at the absurdity of it all Piranha 3DD is a sequel that fishes the bottom-of-the barrel with its grotesque direct-to-DVD level of entertainment. You'll want to wash it off of you as quickly as you would after taking a dip in a piranha-infested pool.
This time the "story" moves from the deserted Lake Victoria which was ravaged by the killer baby piranhas the first go-round to a nearby similar sleepy lake town. Among the town's inhabitants includes Maddy (Danielle Panabaker) a marine biology student who has returned home for the summer to discover her sketchy stepdad Chet (David Koechner playing a character so vile even Todd Packer would cringe) has turned the water park they co-own into an adult playground called "Big Wet " complete with stripper lifeguards. There's also Maddy's secret admirer the nerdy and sweet Barry (Adventureland's Matt Bush) her terrible jock ex-boyfriend Kyle (Chris Zylka) and her bevy of attractive friends (30 Rock's Katrina Bowden among the lot) all of whom are nothing short of glorified piranha bait.
Not caring about the razor-thin characters is the least of the movie's problems. By the time the piranhas move their way from the lake to the big boob-buoyed pools of the "Big Wet" water park by way of an underground water pump for the big finale moviegoers will have already endured a 3D vomit sequence a man severing his own penis with a knife and a Gary Busey cameo that uses a cow fart sight gag as its big payoff. Any remaining willpower to watch bloodied guests try to swim to safety as the poorly CGI'ed piranhas rip away chunks of flesh has all but gone. Perhaps the most shocking thing about the movie however is how much it dials back the violence from the original. If the first one made your stomach turn this one will too — just for very different reasons.
The scares here are scarce but the laughs even more so. Piranha 3DD relies heavily on its celebrity cameos for any comic relief including the aforementioned Busey as well as turns from Christopher Lloyd Ving Rhames and Paul Scheer all reviving their roles from the original. (Adam Scott Richard Dreyfuss Jerry O'Connell and Eli Roth are likely thanking their lucky stars their characters bit it in Piranha 3D.) The only laughs (and it's more of a mildly amused chuckle at best) will likely come from the appearance by Baywatch's David Hasselhoff playing himself as a celebrity lifeguard who visits the doomed water park. A self-parodying Hasselhoff bemoans his presence there and as an audience member you almost can't help but feel the same way: that even David Hasselhoff is above this.