Oh ‘Shark Night 3D’… you let me down. You’re probably not to blame for this, director David R. Ellis and Relativity Media, but considering a year or so ago we saw ‘Piranha 3D’, a film which threw caution into the wind with regards to good taste and sanity, I kind of thought I was in store for more of that entertaining styled nonsense. I didn’t get that. What I did get was some fairly standard fare featuring some really good looking and super fit young people getting eaten by sharks. In 3D. I’m sorry, I just fell asleep typing that.
So Sara (Sara Paxton) is throwing a big party for her friends back at her palatial swamp estate. I forget where exactly this takes place, but I’m gonna guess it’s somewhere around Louisiana. Traveling to the swamp… Oh, I just remembered that these kids go to Tulane, which is like in Louisiana, so Louisiana it is! Anyway, traveling to the swamp to Sara’s party is super smart med student Nick (Dustin Milligan) who has a crush on Sara, Nick’s best friend Gordon (Joel David Moore) who admittedly looks a little long in the tooth to be an undergrad, though Nick did point out he’s on the seven year plan. The fifteen year plan looks more like it to me. Also along is Malik (Sinqua Walls) who is a superstar athlete and a black guy, since most black guys are superstar athletes, and Malik’s girl Maya (Alyssa Diaz) will be along for the ride. She’s Hispanic. Evil people will be asking her to vacuum in this movie because that’s the kind of thing that evil people do. Finally we have Blake (Chris Zylka) the nude model and Beth (Katherine McPhee) the hottie who will be freaking out early and often. Outstanding.
On the way to the swamp our crew will run into Red the Super Hick (Joshua Leonard), who’s racist and stuff, and Red’s boy Dennis (Chris Carmack) who is Sara’s old boyfriend. I’m not saying anything, but Dennis can hold a grudge like few others.
Our kids barely have time to drink and screw and party and do all the things that usually happens in a movie like this, before they start getting eaten by sharks. Where the heck did these sharks come from? It’s a lake for goodness sakes. The hurricane season? Probably not. Well, we have a speed boat so let’s get the one armed black
guy some help. Boat explodes. As a side note, sharks probably shouldn’t be able to keep pace with a speed boat. Next option, use our cell phones to get help. What? Cell phones don’t work? No way. Of course the swamp mansion should have land lines, but not this swamp mansion. Good thing Red the Super Hick and Dennis the Jilted Lover are here to help. Uh… no they are not. Now we come to a problem we have encountered in this movie. Clearly Sara and Dennis have a history, we just didn’t know the depths of this history. Now knowing this history as Sara tells her story, Sara probably should’ve told her friends the genesis of this history, for full disclosure sake, before a couple of our kids jumped on a boat with Dennis and Red to get help. I bet they wouldn’t have jumped on that boat with Dennis if they had this information. Then the one armed black guy jumps into the water with a spear to do battle with a shark. Where in the hell did that spear come from? Mayhem will ensue.
So there’s a reason why all this shark stuff is happening, and surely it’s one of the dumbest plot devices in a Maneater movie I’ve ever seen. But thanks to ‘Shark Night 3D’ I know that Shark Week is the highest rated cable show in the history of cable television, I know that only making twelve dollars and hour will lead one to making some seriously questionable career decisions, and I know that Zippo lighters are awesome. And that after nearly 100 years of cinema, there’s nothing more priceless than the talking killer who allows you to plot your way out of your impossible situation. I love the talking killer.
Similar to how we whined and moaned about ‘Columbiana’, this is another case of a movie seriously crippled by its rating. I’m thinking if I’m going to be watching a movie about a group of super fit, young women in bikinis getting eviscerated by sharks, then I should probably be watching boobs and a plethora of ripped limbs. This would undoubtedly lead to an R-Rating and theoretically lead to a certain age group not being able to go see this movie. Movie Executives take note, the only way that this younger demographic is going to see your movie is if it has boobs and ripped, bloody, shredded limbs flying towards the 3D camera. That’s the only way. One of those gay pirate movies being PG-13, I get. This being PG-13… you’re just shooting yourselves in the foot.
You see, ‘Shark Night 3D’ has a premise and a plot that makes almost no sense on any planet. But we’re good with that. It also features a cast that was primarily hired because they all look great in swimsuits, and live in a world were overweight people and smart people don’t exist. We’re good with that too. Even though if I’m the Tulane University Chancellor, I’m filing a complaint. It features tried and true plot devices such as non-working cell phones, exploding speed boats and killers that like blab and blab before actually killing a character. We can deal with that too. I just don’t know if we can deal with ALL of that in the same movie, along with a dearth of boobs and severed limbs which all adds up to amazingly inert shark eating movie experience. That might be a little too much for us.
All I’m saying is that straddling the line between stupidity and fun is tenuous one, and ‘Shark Night 3D’ falls too far over to the left, that being stupidity, and not enough to the right. Fun, obviously. No Fun.